HIV can be spread by having unprotected
sexual contact with an HIV-positive person.
“Unprotected” means sex (anal, oral, or
vaginal) without barrier protection, like a
Some of the ways to reduce your risk of
getting HIV through sexual contact include:

Don’t have sex. Sex (anal, oral, or
vaginal) is the main way that HIV is
transmitted. If you aren’t having sexual
contact, you are 100% protected from
getting HIV in that way.

Be monogamous. Being monogamous
means: 1) You are in a sexual
relationship with only one person and 2)
Both of you are having sex only with
each other. Having only one sex partner
reduces your risk of getting HIV—but
monogamy won’t protect you completely
unless you know for sure that both you
and your partner are not infected with

Get tested and know your partner’s
status : Knowing your own status is
important for both your health and the
health of your partner. Talking about
your HIV status can be difficult or
uncomfortable—but it’s important to
start the discussion BEFORE you have
You need to ask your sexual partners:
Have you been tested for HIV?
When was the last time you had an
HIV test?
What were the results of your HIV
If you have more than one sex partner,
the CDC recommends that you be tested
for HIV and other sexually
transmitted infections (STIs) every
3-6 months.

Use condoms consistently and
correctly . To reduce your risk of getting
HIV or other STIs, you must use a new
condom with every act of anal, oral, or
vaginal sex. You also have to use
condoms correctly, to keep them from
slipping off or breaking.
You have to use the right kind of
condom too. Latex condoms are highly
effective against HIV. (If you are allergic
to latex, you can use polyurethane or
polyisoprene condoms.) Lambskin
condoms will NOT protect you from HIV,
because the virus is small enough to slip
through lambskin.
You should always use a water-based
lubricant when you use a condom for
anal or vaginal sex. Lubricants reduce
friction and help keep the condom from
breaking. Do NOT use an oil-based
lubricant (like petroleum jelly, hand
lotion, or cooking oil). Oil-based
lubricants can damage condoms and
make them less effective.
Both male condoms and female
condoms will help protect you against
HIV and other STl. You are
ALWAYS safer using a condom! But you can
get certain STIs, like herpes or HPV,
from contact with your partner’s bare
skin, even if one of you is wearing a
condom. Condoms lessen the risk of
infection even for those types of STIs.
Condoms with the spermicide
Nonoxynol-9 are NOT recommended
for STI/HIV prevention. Nonoxynol-9
(N9) irritates rectal and vaginal walls,
which increases the chance of HIV
infection if infected body fluids do come
in contact with them.

All sexual practices can be made “safer”—
meaning you can lower your risk of
transmitting/contracting STIs and HIV—but
some activities are much safer than others.
Here’s a list of sexual activities and the risks
they pose for transmitting HIV or other STIs:

Receptive Anal Sex (Bottoming)
The odds of getting HIV from
“bottoming” without a condom are
higher than any other sexual behavior.
HIV has been found in pre-cum (pre-
ejaculatory fluid), so having your partner
pull out before he cums (ejaculates) may
not decrease your risk.
Do not douche before sex. Douching
irritates the lining of your rectum and
this can increase your risk for getting
HIV. If you are concerned about
cleanliness, clean the rectum gently,
with a soapy finger and water.
If you are bottoming, always use plenty
of water-based lubricant with a latex,
polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom.
This will help to minimize damage to the
rectum during sex and to prevent the
transmission of STIs (including HIV).
Insertive Anal Sex (Topping)

“Topping” without a condom is
considered a high-risk behavior for
transmission of HIV and other STIs.
Your partner may have sores or other
signs of infection in his/her rectum that
you can’t see. If you have tears or cuts
on your penis, HIV can enter your body
this way.
It is possible for blood and other fluids
containing HIV to infect the cells in the
urethra of your penis.

Receptive Vaginal Sex (Risks For Women)
Vaginal sex without a condom is
considered a high-risk behavior for HIV
During vaginal sex, HIV is transmitted
from men to women much more easily
than from women to men.
The risk for transmission is increased if
you currently have another STI or
vaginal infection. Many STIs and vaginal
infections are “silent”—meaning you
don’t have any symptoms, so you may
not be aware that you are infected.
Many barrier methods that are used to
prevent pregnancy (diaphragm, cervical
cap, etc.) DO NOT protect against STIs
or HIV infection because they still allow
infected semen to come in contact with
the lining of your vagina.
Oral or hormonal contraceptives (i.e.,
birth control pills) DO NOT protect
against STIs or HIV infection.
Female condoms DO prevent against HIV
infection, if you use them correctly and

Insertive Vaginal Sex (Risks For Men)
Unprotected vaginal sex is less risky for
the male partner than the female
partner—but there is still a risk that the
male partner can contract HIV and other
Some STIs are “silent,” meaning that a
woman may have an STI but not have
any symptoms. Your partner may not
know she has an infection, so it is
important to use a condom.
Use a new condom with a water-based
lubricant every time you have insertive
vaginal sex to prevent STIs, including
Performing Oral Sex On A Man
You can get HIV by performing oral sex
on your male partner, although the risk
is not as great as it is with unprotected
anal or vaginal sex.
You are also at risk for getting other
STIs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Your risk of contracting HIV is reduced if
your male partner does not ejaculate
(cum) in your mouth.
Your risk of HIV is reduced if you do not
have open sores or cuts in your mouth.
Using condoms for oral sex reduces your
risk of getting HIV or other STIs.
Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Man
There is less associated risk for HIV
infection with this sexual activity.
Your risk of HIV is reduced if you do not
have open sores or cuts on your penis.
There is a risk of contracting other STIs,
including herpes.
Performing Oral Sex On A Woman
HIV has been found in vaginal
secretions, so there is a risk of
contracting HIV from this activity.
It is possible to contract other STIs from
this activity.
There are effective barriers you can use
to protect you from contact with your
partner’s vaginal fluids. You can cut
open an unlubricated condom and lay it
over your partner’s vulva. You can also
use dental dams or non-microwaveable
plastic wrap to protect against HIV and
other STIs. (Plastic wrap that can be
microwaved will not protect you—
viruses are small enough to pass
through that type of wrap.)

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Woman
The risk for contracting HIV this way is
significantly lower than for unprotected
vaginal sex.
There is still a risk of contracting other
STIs, like herpes, and bacterial
You should use a barrier method (cut-
open unlubricated condom, dental dam,
or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over
your vulva to protect yourself from STIs.

Oral-Anal Contact (Rimming)
The risk of getting HIV by rimming is
very low—but this kind of sexual contact
comes with a high risk of transmitting
hepatitis A and B, parasites, and other
bacteria to the partner who is doing the
You should use a barrier method (cut-
open unlubricated condom, dental dam,
or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over
the anus to protect against infection.

Digital Stimulation (Fingering)
There is a very small risk of getting HIV
from fingering your partner if you have
cuts or sores on your fingers and your
partner has cuts or sores in the rectum
or vagina.
Use medical-grade gloves and lots of
water-based lubricant to eliminate this

Sex Toys
Using sex toys can be a safe practice, as
long as you do not share your toys with
your partner.
If you share your toy with your partner,
use a condom on the toy, if possible,
and change the condom before your
partner uses it.
Clean your toys with soap and water, or
a stronger disinfectant if indicated on
the cleaning instructions. It is important
to do this after each use!

These activities carry no risk of HIV
Non-sexual massage
Casual or dry kissing
Masturbation (without your partner’s
body fluids)
Frottage—also known as “dry humping”
or body-to-body rubbing
You can still contract other STIs, like herpes,
HPV, or pubic lice (“crabs”) if you have bare
skin-to-skin contact with your partner.


Posted on March 20, 2013, in MEDIA AND HEALTH. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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