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HIV/AIDS

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Can I give HIV or hepatitis C to someone else?

for Veterans and the Public

Can I give HIV or hepatitis C to someone else?

Through sex?

HIV is spread by infected blood, semen, and vaginal fluids. Practicing safe sex is the best way to keep other people from getting HIV.

Hepatitis C is spread mainly by the blood and rarely by sex. But you still can give hepatitis C to someone you have sex with if you're not careful.

If you have sex, the best thing to do is practice safer sex all the time. To do so, always use a condom, dental dam, or other latex barrier and avoid "rough sex" or other activities that might cause bleeding. For more information, see tips for using condoms and dental dams.

Sharing drugs?

Sharing needles or works to inject drugs is one of the easiest ways to spread hepatitis C and HIV. By sharing needles or works, you even can spread both of these viruses at the same time.

The best thing to do, especially if you have hepatitis C or HIV, is not use drugs. Talk to your doctor about getting help to stop.

If you use drugs, make sure that your needle and works are clean (or brand new) every time and never share them with anyone else. Snorting drugs such as cocaine also may spread hepatitis C, and possibly HIV.