Am I at risk?

Some behavior is more risky than others. It is important to recognize that risk factors are not the direct cause of disease. HIV affects people at every point on the risk spectrum and many people who are most “at risk” for HIV infection never become infected. Understanding HIV risk factors can help you better evaluate your own risk.

Some of the most common behavioral risk factors include:

High Risk

Having unprotected anal or vaginal sex with an HIV-infected person or with a person whose HIV status is unknown

Having multiple sexual partners

Having sex with sex workers

Having sex with IV drug users

Sharing syringes or needles

Using nonsterile needles for piercing or tattooing

Low Risk

Having vaginal or anal sex with a condom

Oral sex

Other factors that may put one at risk for HIV infection include

Another sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, or hepatitis

Having been the victim of sexual assault

Having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Having a mother who had HIV when you were born

For more information about the risks associated with specific sexual behaviors