All the Ways You Can/Cannot Contract HIV

There is a lot of stigma attached to HIV and the subsequent AIDS, most of which stems from false information. 

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks your immune system, which, over time can develop into AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) which is a condition. HIV can be contracted if cum/pre-cum, rectal or vaginal fluid, blood, or breast milk that is carrying the virus comes into contact with damaged tissue or mucous membranes in your body. These membranes are found in the penis, vagina, rectum, and mouth. You cannot contract HIV through saliva or free-standing semen. 

There are many misconceptions about how people contract HIV, so let’s settle this once and for all.


  • Unprotected vaginal sex
  • Unprotected anal sex
  • Sharing/reusing syringes that have been exposed to HIV
  • During pregnancy, birth, and the breastfeeding period between mother and child



  • Vaginal/anal sex with a condom
  • Vaginal/anal sex with a partner who is on PrEP
  • Vaginal/anal sex with an HIV positive partner whose viral load is undetectable
  • Kissing
  • Touching cum
  • Oral sex (while it is hypothetically possible to contract HIV from swallowing/your partner ejaculating in your mouth, the CDC asserts this is extremely rare, and there are very few such oral transmissions on record)
  • Groping
  • Food prepared/handled by an HIV positive person 
  • Biting (unless severe trauma is inflicted to the skin tissue; again, there have been very few documented cases of this)
  • Receiving a tattoo or piercing (again, hypothetically possible, but there are NO reported cases of this kind of transmission)
  • Mosqutio bites


While the ways you cannot contract HIV outnumber the the ways you can, this list by no means seeks to downplay the seriousness of HIV/AIDS. While infection rates in the United States have drastically dropped since the worst years of the American outbreak in the 1980s and 90s, HIV/AIDS is still classified as a global pandemic. The history of the disease is expansive and complicated, fraught with governmental neglect of marginalized populations (one that continues today, through systemic restriction of proper health care and sexual education to minority populations). It is important when discussing HIV/AIDS, you’re sure you don’t contextualize the pandemic solely through a Western perspective. Data suggests 66% of new HIV infections in 2015 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa alone.

Due to advances in modern medicine, HIV/AIDS is no longer the death sentence it was thirty years ago. However, diligence and the practice of safe sexual methods is vital in ensuring the epidemic does not once again reach the disastrous proportions of the past.



To find free, confidential testing locations near you, visit

For information regarding PrEP, a preventative drug, talk to your doctor or visit

A list of HIV/AIDS hotline numbers can be found at here.