How can and can't HIV be passed?

There are more ways HIV cannot be passed than ways it can be passed. HIV can not be passed by simply touching, hugging, kissing, sharing a meal, or sharing cutlery.

HIV dies quickly when it is exposed to oxygen; it can only live about 30 seconds outside the body. In order for HIV to be passed, it needs direct access to our bloodstream. There are three ways this can happen: 

  1. A needle injection to the bloodstream 
  2. Fissures (small tears in soft tissues caused by friction) 
  3. Receptor cells that are located in our soft and squishy bits (our bum, front hole, vagina, and the tip of a strapless, or penis) 

* There is no information available yet on how HIV is passed for folks who have accessed bottom surgery. However, we know that our body parts can still get fissures if we do not use enough lubrication. 

Only a few body fluids can pass HIV: 

  • Blood 
  • Semen and pre-cum 
  • Rectal fluid 
  • Front hole fluid and vaginal fluid 
  • Human milk (also known as chest or breast milk)

There are only a few activities that can allow HIV to be passed: 

  • Sharing injection equipment that may come into contact with our bloodstream 
  • Having sex that involves inserting a strapless or penis in a bum or front hole or vagina without prevention methods 

There are other activities that have a lower chance of passing HIV: 

  • Giving oral sex to a strapless or penis
  • Sharing a prosthetic or sex toy without a condom
  • Giving birth and nursing (chest or breast feeding)