HIV Transmission Other Than Intercourse
There are many ways HIV can be contracted besides sexual intercourse. Most of them involve some kind of contact with the bodily fluid of an HIV-infected individual, since this is how the virus is carried. Bodily fluids include: blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk.
Here are but some of the ways HIV can be transmitted other than through sex:
Intravenous Drug Use
The use of dirty and/or shared needles for injecting illicit or recreational drugs ranks as one of the primary ways to contract or spread HIV and AIDS. Since needles are injected directly into the body, if you share a needle with an HIV-infected individual, that person's blood, germs, and infections can pass directly into your bloodstream.
Syringes and Surgical Tools
Any procedure that uses needles, syringes, surgical tools, or any other body-piercing instruments (i.e. a razor, a tattoo gun, a piercing gun) carries the risk of transmitting HIV. Therefore if you are planning to get a tattoo, pierce your ears or any other body part, make sure all surgical equipment and/or syringes are clean and sterilized first.
Touching the open wound or the blood of an HIV-positive individual greatly increases the risk of HIV transmission. Unfortunately, with the increase in rates of HIV and AIDS today, even formerly innocent children's practices such as rubbing blood together in a sacred ritual or becoming "blood brothers" should be viewed as suspect today. In general, care should be taken to avoid contact with the bodily fluids of any other person.
While blood transfusions are much safer today than ever before, there is always the possibility that HIV can be transmitted in this way. Having said that, all hospitals and blood banks today take extreme precautions to screen blood donors for infection, and all blood reserves are carefully and consistently checked for AIDS.
In general, saliva is NOT considered an infectious bodily fluid because the enzymes and acid level inside the mouth are such that they are unfavorable to the HIV virus - that is, there is not enough concentration of the virus in saliva to render it infectious.
However, in some cases HIV can be transmitted via saliva. For example, if you kiss an infected individual who has open mouth sores or cuts or has any type of gum disease, you are at risk of contracting HIV.
Babies that are breastfed by HIV-positive mothers are at risk for contracting HIV. In fact, HIV can be transmitted even before birth and during delivery. Moreover, the risk of HIV transmission via breastfeeding increases the longer the baby is exposed to HIV in the breast milk. Therefore, HIV-positive mothers are advised to use formula instead of breastfeeding.