HIV Transmission Risk
May 1, 2014
The risk of getting HIV varies widely depending on the type of exposure. Some exposures, such as exposure to HIV during a blood transfusion, carry a much higher risk of transmission than other exposures, such as oral sex. For some exposures, risk of transmission, while biologically plausible, is so low that it is not possible to provide a precise number.
Different factors can increase or decrease transmission risk. For example, taking antiretroviral therapy (i.e., medicines for HIV infection) can reduce the risk of an HIV-infected person transmitting the infection to another by as much as 96%,1 and consistent use of condoms reduces the risk of getting or transmitting HIV by about 80%.2 Using both condoms and antiretroviral therapy reduces the risk of HIV acquisition from sexual exposure by 99.2%.3 Conversely, having a sexually transmitted infection or a high level of HIV virus in the blood (which happens in early and late-stage infection) may increase transmission risk.
The table below lists the risk of transmission per 10,000 exposures for various types of exposures.
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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