How is the HIV virus spread?

HIV, the AIDS virus, passes from person to person through the exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. Transmission occurs when these body fluids are exchanged during intimate sexual contact or while sharing infected hypodermic needles. An infected woman can also pass HIV to her unborn child. HIV can also be transmitted through a blood transfusion with contaminated blood or blood products. In theory, other objects that come into contact with blood, such as shared toothbrushes or razors, can pass along HIV to subsequent users. Currently, however, nothing indicates that transmission of the virus is possible through sneezing, a hug or handshake, or other casual contact.