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Sexual Routes Of Transmission

Use a latex condom every time you have anal or vaginal sex

Lambskin/sheepskin condoms do not protect against HIV. If you are allergic to latex, polyurethane condoms are available in two styles. Use only water-based lubricants with latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants like Vaseline or baby oil can weaken a latex condom and cause it to break.

Use a condom or dental dam for oral sex. Although oral sex is considered low risk for HIV infection, it is possible if there is an exchange of body fluids, and there is still the possibility of getting other STIs. Flavoured condoms can make oral sex with condoms a more pleasurable experience, and Dental Dams for anilingus can protect against Hepatitis A.

Contact with Bodily Fluids

HIV can only be transmitted through direct contact with certain body fluids of someone who is HIV positive. There has to be an appropriate route of entry into the body, usually through a break in the skin or absorption through mucosal membranes (the lining of the vagina, rectum, mouth, eyes, etc).

HIV is primarily transmitted via sexual activities and injection drug use. The presence of other sexually transmitted infections (STI) increases the risk of HIV transmission because other STIs may leave open sores and lesions that would make it easier for HIV to get into the blood stream.


Intercourse (vaginal and anal) without the use of a condom is considered high risk for HIV infection. In the genitals and the rectum, HIV may infect the mucous membranes directly or enter through cuts and sores caused during intercourse. Unprotected intercourse is the highest risk of HIV infection.

Sex toys

Sex toys also pose a risk for HIV infection. Transferring a sex toy directly from one partner to another allows for sharing of infected fluids. The risk of HIV transmission can be reduced by cleaning sex toys after use (soap and water, alcohol or bleach).

In the immediacy of a sexual situation, some people may use a condom as a substitute for cleaning. After using a condom with one person, replace it, and then the toy can be used on another person. Sharing disinfected toys is a negligible risk activity.

Using insertive sex toys (e.g.: dildos, vibrators, Ben-Wa balls, butt plugs, anal beads) and other objects can cause trauma to the sphincters and the mucosal lining of the rectum. The extent varies depending on the size of the device and the way it is used. Even if properly cleaned and therefore not directly transmitting HIV, trauma and resulting inflammation can promote the possibility of later transmission. By opening a route of entry for HIV to the bloodstream through the cuts or tears in the rectum, there is an increased risk of HIV transmission for activities that may follow.

Take precautions with sex toys. If you want to share sex toys with someone, put a condom over the toy and change the condom after each use. Toys such as handcuffs, whips, restraints and paddles can sometimes get bodily fluids on them, so be sure to clean them thoroughly between uses.

Oral sex

Oral sex  is low risk for HIV infection. Generally speaking, the mouth is an inhospitable environment for HIV. As a result, the risk of HIV transmission through the throat, gums, and oral membranes is lower than through the asshole. There are however, documented cases where HIV was transmitted orally, so we can't say that getting  semen in the mouth is no risk.

Avoid brushing, flossing and dental work an hour before, or immediately after, performing oral sex, as doing so can cause small tears and cuts in the mouth and provide a route of entry for HIV into the bloodstream.


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