Ways HIV Cannot Be Spread

Ways HIV Cannot Be Spread

Topic Overview

HIV does not survive well outside the body. HIV cannot be spread from one person to another in any of the following ways:

Casual contact

In studies of hundreds of households in which families have lived with and cared for people who have AIDS, including situations in which no one knew that the person was HIV-infected, HIV was spread only when there was sexual contact or needle-sharing with the infected person or contact with the infected person's blood.

HIV is not spread in such settings where exposures are repeated and prolonged and can involve contact with an infected person's body fluids, so it is even less likely to be spread in other casual social settings, such as schools and offices.

Saliva, sweat, tears, urine, or feces

HIV cannot be spread by sharing drinking glasses or by casual kissing. The risk of spreading the virus through "deep" kissing in which large amounts of saliva are exchanged is extremely low. Only one unproven case has ever been reported.

No cases of HIV spread have ever been reported after a person has come in contact with the sweat, tears, urine, or feces of an HIV-infected person.

Vaccines

HIV is not spread by vaccines made from blood products, such as the hepatitis B vaccine and various immunoglobulins approved for use in the United States.

  • Hepatitis B vaccine now contains no human tissue or blood.
  • The other products are made from screened blood or plasma and undergo purification that destroys any harmful viruses or bacteria.

Insects

HIV is not spread by insects. Insects do not become infected and their saliva does not contain the virus. Blood-sucking insects, such as mosquitoes, do not inject blood into the next person they bite.

Contact with common objects

HIV is not spread by touching common objects such as toilet seats or faucet handles.

Related Information

    Credits

    Current as of: June 9, 2019

    Author: Healthwise Staff
    Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
    Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
    Peter Shalit MD, PhD - Internal Medicine

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