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Transmission of HIV/AIDS
How Is HIV/AIDS Transmitted?
Sexual contact - HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. The virus enters the body through the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or mouth during sexual activity.
Blood contamination - HIV may also be spread through contact with infected blood. However, due to the screening of blood for evidence of HIV infection, the risk of acquiring HIV from blood transfusions is extremely low.
Needles - HIV is frequently spread by sharing needles, syringes, or drug use equipment with someone who is infected with the virus. Transmission from patient to healthcare worker, or vice-versa through accidental sticks with contaminated needles or other medical instruments, is rare.
Mother-infant - HIV also can be spread to babies born to, or breastfed by, mothers infected with the virus.
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HIV/AIDS cannot be spread through:
- Casual contact, such as sharing food utensils, towels, and bedding
- Swimming pools
- Toilet seats
- Biting insects (such as mosquitoes)
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.