Who is at risk for HIV?

You are at risk for HIV if you have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral intercourse or share needles with a partner who is positive for HIV. You cannot tell whether a person is positive for HIV by looking at them. The only way to know for sure that you are not positive for HIV is to get tested at your doctor's office, local health department, or other HIV testing facility. According to the CDC, certain populations are at an increasingly greater risk for HIV transmission:


CDC now recommends that everybody should be tested at least once per year. CDC also recommends that those people who are at high-risk of becoming infected with HIV should test more frequently. You can talk with your doctor or an HIV counselor about how frequently you should be tested for HIV.

Risk Factors

You might be at higher risk for getting HIV if:

  • You are having unprotected sex with a partner of unknown HIV status
  • You or your partner has had more than one partner in the last 12 months
  • You are a man who has sex with men
  • Your partner is HIV positive
  • You share needles during IV drug use
  • You share needles or ink during tattooing
  • You are a healthcare worker who works with blood or blood products
  • You exchange sex for drugs or money
  • You had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1985
  • Your partner has participated in any of the above behaviors

Show All Answers

1. What is HIV?
2. How is HIV transmitted?
3. How can HIV be prevented?
4. Who is at risk for HIV?
5. How do I know if I am infected?
6. If I think I have been exposed to HIV, how soon can I get tested?
7. What if I'm positive?
8. What if I'm negative?
9. If I test HIV negative, does that mean that my partner is HIV negative also?
10. What if I was exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours?
11. How do I prove to my partner that I am HIV negative?
12. If somebody did not tell me that they have HIV can they be arrested?
13. Is there a website or database where I can look up my partner to see if they are HIV+?
14. I did not get tested at the Health Department, why are you trying to contact me?
15. I am HIV+ but don’t have insurance. Is there any help for me?
16. I am HIV+ but don’t want to tell my partner. What can I do?
17. If I’m HIV+ and my partner is too, why do we still need to use condoms?
18. People who have HIV look sick, so can’t you tell if somebody has it just by looking at them?
19. I was just told that I have HIV but I feel healthy. Why do I need to see a doctor now, can’t I wait?
20. I know I’m not at risk for HIV so I don’t need to get tested, right?
21. I don’t want to get tested because my insurance will kick me off.