How is HIV transmitted?

An Infection most commonly occurs through one of these body fluids: Blood, semen or vaginal fluid. The highest risk therefore occurs during unprotected anal and vaginal intercourse, because the mucous membrane in the vagina and intestine offers a large "attack surface," the virus concentration in semen is high, and the anal mucosa is prone to injury. Oral sex is much less risky as long as no sperm or menstrual blood enters the mouth. If you have had unprotected sex, we strongly recommend that you get tested for HIV and other STDs.

The level of risk of infection due to sexual intercourse without a condom depends on several factors:

  • Type of sexual practice
  • Number or frequent change of sexual partners
  • Whether other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) already exist
  • From the number of HIV-positive people in the sexual environment

Other infection possibilities

  • Commonly used paraphernalia (e.g., injecting equipment, sniffing tubes) for drug use
  • Any kind of blood contact (e.g. also during first aid)
  • Mother-to-child transmission (mother-to-child transmission can now be virtually eliminated in Austria thanks to medical preventive measures).

How is HIV not transmitted - what is safe?

There is no risk of contracting HIV through normal social contacts when living with HIV-positive people.

  • Shake hands
  • Kissing, hugging
  • Swimming, sports
  • Sharing eating utensils/drinking glasses or toiletries.
  • Toilet use and much more...
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