The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be transmitted through several routes. These include:
- Sexual transmission: The most common route of transmission is through sexual contact with an infected person. This includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
- Parent-to-child transmission: HIV can be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
- Sharing of needles or syringes: HIV can be transmitted through sharing of needles or syringes contaminated with infected blood, such as in the context of drug use or healthcare procedures.
- Blood transfusion or organ transplantation: In rare cases, HIV can be transmitted through blood transfusions or organ transplants from infected donors.
- Occupational exposure: Healthcare workers or other individuals who come into contact with infected blood or bodily fluids can be at risk of HIV transmission through accidental needle sticks, cuts, or other exposures.
- Other exposures: HIV can also be transmitted through non-sexual, non-injection routes, such as through tattooing, body piercing, or other skin-penetrating procedures with unsterilized equipment.
It's important to note that HIV is not transmitted through casual contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, or sharing food or drink. The virus is also not transmitted through mosquito bites or other insect bites.