HIV and Women: HIV Risk Behaviors

The chances of getting or transmitting HIV varies widely depending on the type of exposure or behavior. Most commonly, people get or transmit HIV through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment—for example, cookers.

Sexual Behaviors Among Cisgender Women* with Diagnosed HIV in the US, 2020†
Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best way for people with HIV to stay healthy and protect others.
This chart shows the percentage of cisgender women with HIV who had sex without using any prevention strategy.

Data for transgender women are not included because the numbers are too small to report.

* The term cisgender women refers to people assigned female at birth who identify as female.
† Had sex while not virally suppressed with a partner whose HIV status was negative or unknown, a condom was not used, and the partner was not taking PrEP.

Visit the terminology section for terms and definitions.

Source: CDC. Behavioral and Clinical Characteristics of Persons with Diagnosed HIV Infection—Medical Monitoring Project, United States, 2020 Cycle (June 2020–May 2021). HIV Surveillance Special Report 2022;29.

Injection Behaviors Among Women Who Inject Drugs in 23 US Cities, 2018*

Cisgender: A person whose sex assigned at birth is the same as their gender identity or expression.

Gender expression: A person’s outward presentation of their gender (for example, how they dress).

Gender identity: A person’s internal understanding of their own gender.

Transgender: A person whose gender identity or expression is different from their sex assigned at birth.