Sex, mother-to-child transmission, and other breastfeeding risks
Sexual transmission risks and prevention – Mother-to-child transmission – Risk to give/get HIV through breastfeeding your own or another’s baby
HIV is a bloodborne virus. It transmits more easily through blood-to-blood contact than through sex. Of course, it can also transmit through sex, but not nearly as fast as syphilis, gonorrhea, and other common sexually transmitted infections. Click here for some basic information about sexual transmission risks and how to prevent sexual transmission. We encourage you to look for more information from other sources.
Mother-to-child HIV transmission at birth or through breastfeeding is efficient — but is almost entirely preventable. Click here for information about the risk an HIV-positive mother will infect her baby and about how to prevent it. If you are pregnant and HIV-positive, we encourage you to look for more thorough information from other sources.
With HIV in the community, breastfeeding can be a risk to transmit HIV not only from mother-to-child, but other ways as well. An HIV-positive child can infect any woman who breastfeeds that child. If a woman is infected, the woman can infect her own baby or any other child she breastfeeds. Click here for more information about risks to transmit HIV from children to breastfeeding women or from surrogate breastfeeders to children.