Who is at Risk of HIV?
HIV can affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender or age. However, certain groups are at higher risk for HIV and merit special consideration because of particular risk factors.
Is the Risk of HIV Different for Different People?
Some groups of people are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including the status of their sex partners, their risk behaviours, and where they live.
When you live in a community where many people have HIV infection, the chances of having sex or sharing needles or other injection equipment with someone who has HIV are higher. Within any community, the prevalence of HIV can vary among different populations.
Risky behaviours, like having anal or vaginal sex without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV, and sharing needles or syringes play a big role in HIV transmission. Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behaviour. If you don’t have HIV, being a receptive partner (or bottom) for anal sex is the highest-risk sexual activity for getting HIV. If you do have HIV, being the insertive partner (or top) for anal sex is the highest-risk sexual activity for transmitting HIV.
But there are more tools available today to prevent HIV than ever before. Choosing less risky sexual behaviours, taking medicines to prevent and treat HIV, and using condoms with lubricants are all highly effective ways to reduce the risk of getting or transmitting HIV.