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  » Men's health  »  HIV/AIDS


HIV destroys certain kinds of blood cells, which are crucial to the normal function of our body's immune system to fight illness. Although many new drugs have been developed to help treat HIV, there is no cure for AIDS, which is caused by HIV. If you have any sexual contact (vaginal, anal, or oral) with an HIV-infected person or you use intravenous drugs, you are at high risk for HIV/AIDS. HIV is in body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk). HIV also is in other body fluids sometimes handled by health care workers (fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord, bone joints, and around an unborn baby).

People who are infected with STDs are more likely to get HIV if exposed to it through sexual contact and also are more likely to transmit HIV.

To learn about where you can get tested for HIV, contact the CDC National AIDS Hotline at 800-342-2437 (English) or 800-344-7432 (Spanish) or 800-243-7889 (TTY).

Despite large declines in numbers of AIDS diagnoses in the past 5 years, most AIDS cases still occur in men, especially in men who have sex with men and in men who use injection drugs. Since 1995, more new AIDS cases have occurred among African Americans than any other racial/ethnic group. African Americans now account for nearly half of all new AIDS cases.

HIV is passed through:

  • sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral) with an HIV-infected person
  • sharing needles or injection equipment with an injection drug user who is infected with HIV
  • HIV-infected women to babies before or during birth, or through breastfeeding after birth
  • transfusions of infected blood. Since 1985 all donated blood in the United States is tested for HIV, and now the risk of getting HIV from a blood transfusion is very low. Some women planning surgery may have their own blood drawn or the blood of a relative for peace of mind if a transfusion is needed.