Risky or Not? Learn what is safe, and what might put you at risk for getting HIV

First off, let’s start with the basics—You can get HIV through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids: blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and/or breast milk. Getting tested, knowing your HIV status and knowing the HIV status of your partner(s) is the best way to keep yourself safe.

The next step is to know the level of risk that could come with certain activities.

Risky or Not?

1. Kissing— NOT  RISKY

Kissing poses NO risk for contracting HIV. There is no chance of getting HIV from closed-mouth kissing, and you cannot get HIV through saliva.

2. Oral Sex— LOW RISK

Oral sex is less risky than anal or vagina sex, but oral sex is NOT risk free. It can start to be risky business if there are open sores in the mouth, and/or on the penis or vagina. You can reduce your risk by using a barrier method like dental dams (or a cut-open non-lubricated condom) when performing oral sex to keep away from coming into contact with any infected fluids.

3. Vaginal Sex —MEDIUM to HIGH RISK

When a female has vaginal sex with a partner who’s HIV-positive, HIV can enter her body through the lining of the vagina, and cervix. Even if a male partner pulls out before ejaculating (cumming), you can still become infected because pre-cum (the small amount of semen that comes out before a male ejaculates) can carry HIV.

When a male has vaginal sex with a female who is HIV-positive, the virus can enter his body through the opening at the tip of the penis - the foreskin (fold of skin that covers the head of the penis if they are not circumcised) - or small cuts, scratches, or open sores anywhere on the penis.

Using a Condom is a great barrier method to help prevent risk for HIV infection

4. Anal Sex – HIGH RISK

Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV. It is possible for both partners - receptive (bottom) and insertive (top) to contract HIV. The lining of the rectum is thin, which allows HIV to enter the body through bodily fluids. And just like vaginal sex, HIV can enter the male body through the opening at the tip of the penis. 

Using a Condom is a great barrier method to help prevent risk for HIV infection

Some Go To Tips:

  • Use condoms the right way EVERY time you have sex to reduce the risk of getting both HIV and other STDs that are passed through bodily fluids
  • Make sure you’re lubricated! Sufficient water-or silicone-based lubricant can be used during vaginal/anal sex to prevent condom breakage and tearing of tissue
  • Get tested! Make sure you and your partners have been tested for HIV and other STD’s. Visit a clinic near your for free, confidential and non-judgemental HIV screening and other services.