How is HIV Transmitted?

Four fluids spread HIV into the body and bloodstream of another person:

  • blood
  • semen (including pre-ejaculate)
  • vaginal fluid
  • breast milk (of someone with HIV)

Some people have become infected with HIV from blood transfusions or blood products; however, since 1985, donated blood has been tested so the risk is extremely low.

Unlike colds or flu viruses, HIV is not spread through the air, by touching, or by everyday casual contact. You do not have to worry about getting HIV from:

  • a food server, eating utensils, or food
  • pets or insect bites
  • donating blood
  • using public rest rooms, drinking fountains, or swimming pools
  • an infected person sitting next to you
  • sharing telephones, computers, and gym equipment
  • shaking hands, hugging, or social (dry) kissing where no open sores or cuts are present

The best way to prevent HIV is to know your status. ASF provides free confidential testing. Click here to learn about ASF testing hours and locations and other testing sites around the county.

For more information or to speak confidentially to an ASF Health Educator, please call (949) 809-8771 or via e-mail at:


  • 17982 Sky Park Circle
  • Suite J
  • Irvine, CA 92614-6482


  • AIDS Services Foundation Orange County
  • (PHONE) 949-809-5700
  • (FAX) 949-809-5779


  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:30 am to 5:00 pm