Risks for transmission

Between 100% safety and 100% risk

Whether HIV transmission occurs depends on many things. The most important ones are listed below (see Figure 1).

This is not just about you and your partners’ HIV status. Or what you do with or without a condom. It includes viral load, type of sex, genetics, circumcision etc.

Very few activities have a 100% risk or are 100% safe. The risk for any single exposure is between these extremes.

The risk from each factor might be anywhere between highest and zero. These factors interact with each other.

The only way to know your HIV status is to take an HIV test.

The next pages discuss each of these risks in more detail.

Figure 1: Common risks for transmission

Last updated: 1 June 2021.