HIV Risk Factors
Educate yourself on the HIV risk factors. Read common misconceptions and learn about other preventable activities that are high risk factors fo...

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An early common misconception about HIV was that it only infected homosexual men.  However, anyone can contract the virus, regardless of age, race, sex, or sexual orientation. 

Risk factors for HIV/AIDS include:

Unprotected Sex

Because HIV is spread through bodily fluids, the use of a condom (especially latex or polyurethane) greatly reduces the risk of transmission.  Anal sex is more hazardous than vaginal sex. 

Multiple Sexual Partners

Although being monogamous does not guarantee against exposure to the disease, it greatly reduces the risk.  If you are sure that both you and your partner are monogamous and not infected by HIV, there is no way for transmission to occur unless another partner is introduced and that person has HIV.

Suffering from Another STD

Many sexually transmitted diseases, like chlamydia or gonorrhea, cause open sores on the genitals, allowing strains of HIV to enter the body more easily.

Use of Intravenous Drugs

Sharing needles and syringes is common amongst intravenous drug users.  Exposure to infected blood greatly increases a person’s risk for acquiring HIV.

Being Uncircumcised

Men who are uncircumcised experience greater risk for heterosexual transmission of HIV than those who have been circumcised.

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Edited by:
Medically Reviewed by: Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH
Published: Sep 8, 2011
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.
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