The HIV virus can be found in blood, semen, pre-ejaculatory fluid, vaginal and rectal secretions and breast milk. It can only be passed on if one of these fluids exits the body of someone with HIV and enters the blood stream of someone who does not have HIV. 

Very small amounts of HIV virus can also technically be found in saliva but not in sufficient quantity to cause transmission. There has never been a case of HIV transmission through saliva recorded in Scotland.

You cannot get HIV from: kissing, hugging, massage, any non-sexual physical contact, sharing cutlery, drinking from the same glass or sharing food, or from contact with surfaces such as toilet seats.

These are some of the ways by which HIV can be passed on:

Condomless vaginal or anal sex: 
Using condoms and water based lube during sex is one of the most effective ways of reducing HIV transmission and other sexually transmitted infections. 

Sharing injecting equipment: 
Sharing needles is a high risk activity as it is a potential route for HIV to be passed from person to person. If injecting drugs, you should always make sure you are using clean injecting equipment. Sharing injecting equipment is also a high-risk activity for hepatitis B and C transmission. For more information on this you can visit

During pregnancy, at birth and through breast feeding: 
This risk can be virtually eliminated if the mother is on effective HIV medication and if the child is bottle-fed.