how HIV spreads
the chance of getting HIV from different sexual activities
tested. Ask your partners about their test results. And tell them about yours
to a healthcare provider about all the ways to prevent HIV
HIV is found in blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), vaginal fluid, rectal fluid, and breast milk. HIV spreads when one of these fluids from a person who has HIV enters the body of a person who does not. Some of the ways this can happen are through:
Start by getting tested. And take these steps.
Try talking to your partners about HIV first. Ask whether they have been tested and what the results were. And always use condoms. Here are some tips on how and when to use them during different sexual activities.
Never share needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment.
Do not breastfeed if you have HIV. The virus can be passed to your baby through breast milk. If you are pregnant, a healthcare provider can help you understand how to prevent passing HIV to your baby.
According to the CDC, about 90% of new HIV infections result from sexual activity.
That is why it is important to know your chances of getting HIV from different activities. Then you can make informed choices about protecting yourself.
The fact is, HIV is most often spread during
sex. The activities with the highest risk for HIV infection are:
You should also know that other factors can increase your chance of getting HIV:
A helpful list from the U.S. DHHS:
Receptive anal sex (bottoming) carries the most risk for getting HIV of any sexual activity.
Insertive anal sex (topping)
Receptive vaginal sex
Insertive vaginal sex
Receiving oral sex if you are a man or a woman
Performing oral sex on a man or a woman
Oral-anal contact (rimming)
Small amounts of blood spread during deep kissing or oral sex—extremely rare
Activities without body fluid contact
Casual or dry kissing
Phone sex, cyber sex
Sex toys (not shared)
Let's say you have sex with one person.
That person has sex with other people.
They have sex with other people.
And so on.
This is called a sexual network.
It shows how people are linked by sex.
When you have fewer partners, you
have a smaller sexual network. And
a lower chance of contact with
someone who has HIV.
You can't know the status of everyone in your network. But there is one person's status you can always know: Yours. That is why regular testing is so important.
If you do have HIV, starting and sticking to treatment can help get your viral load so low, it can't be measured by a test. So low it's undetectable.
Sticking to treatment and staying undetectable is a big deal. According to current research, it basically eliminates the chance of transmitting HIV through sex. Talk to a healthcare provider. Because HIV is still
in your body. And being
undetectable doesn't prevent
other sexually transmitted
infections. So stick to treatment, use condoms, and practice safer sex.
If you do not have HIV, you should know about post-exposure prophylaxis. PEP for short. It involves taking medicine after contact with HIV.
Treatment must begin within 72 hours. PEP is only available from a healthcare provider, emergency room, urgent care clinic, or HIV clinic.
It is not 100% effective. And follow-up
HIV testing is required. If you think you have
been exposed to HIV, you must see a
healthcare provider or go to a clinic
or emergency room right away.
There are now more ways than ever to protect yourself and help stop the virus. Check out the HEALTHYSEXUAL® site for tips on talking to healthcare providers about all the ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
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