Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on November 8, 2011

Who can get HIV?

Can anyone get HIV or is it only some people who can get HIV?

answered by on November 8, 2011

That’s a good question.

The simple answer is that anyone could get HIV if exposed to the virus. That said, some people are at higher risk for getting HIV because of HIV risk factors.

Risk factors for HIV include...

  • Having multiple sexual partners or a new sexual partner
  • Being a man who is gay, bisexual or has sex with other men (MSM)
  • Having a different STD now or in the past (especially those that cause sores like herpes or syphilis)
  • Ever having unprotected anal sex or unprotected vaginal sex
  • Being an intravenous drug user now or in the past
  • Being a healthcare worker who is exposed to blood at work
  • Being an uncircumcised man

If any of these risk factors describes you, I encourage you to get tested for HIV. Why? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about 1 in 5 people who have HIV aren’t aware of their infection. That means that testing is the only way to know if you have the virus or not.

And once you’ve been tested, you’ll be able to make the most informed decisions to keep yourself healthy. Remember, with treatment, HIV is considered a chronic disease and not fatal. But getting tested early and treated (if appropriate) early is important.

If you’d like to learn more about HIV risk factors, testing and treatment, you can turn to our Expert Guide to HIV.

Thanks for your question and I wish you the best of health.

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