Ways Hiv Can Be Transmitted
How is HIV passed from one person to another?
Most people who get HIV get it through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment . But there are powerful tools that can help prevent HIV transmission.
Can I get HIV from anal sex?
You can get HIV if you have anal sex with someone who has HIV without using protection .
- Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV.
- Being the receptive partner is riskier for getting HIV than being the insertive partner .
- The bottoms risk of getting HIV is very high because the rectums lining is thin and may allow HIV to enter the body during anal sex.
- The top is also at risk because HIV can enter the body through the opening at the tip of the penis , the foreskin if the penis isnt circumcised, or small cuts, scratches, or open sores anywhere on the penis.
Can I get HIV from vaginal sex?
You can get HIV if you have vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using protection .
Can HIV be transmitted from a mother to her baby?
HIV can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. However, it is less common because of advances in HIV prevention and treatment.
Can I get HIV from sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment?
You are at high risk for getting HIV if you with someone who has HIV. Never share needles or other equipment to inject drugs, hormones, steroids, or silicone.
Can Someone Get Hiv Through Oral Sex
If a person who is infected with HIV gives a partner oral sex, can the partner become infected with HIV? Dan
Yes. Although rare, it is possible to transmit HIV through giving and receiving oral sex.
When someone with HIV gives oral sex, the virus can go from small cuts or sores in the mouth into the uninfected persons body through the urethra , vagina, or anus. When someone with HIV receives oral sex, the virus can enter the other persons body when semen or vaginal fluids get into the mouth.
If either partner also has another STD , it increases the chance of HIV infection even more.
Placing a protective barrier between the mouth and genitals can lower the chances of HIV infection both when giving and receiving oral sex. Guys should always wear a latex condom . Girls should put a dental dam or plastic food wrapping as a barrier over the genitals.
Date reviewed: January 2015
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Note: All information on KidsHealth is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
What Are The Chances Of Becoming Infected If He Doesnt Ejaculate Inside Me
While research suggests that high concentrations of HIV can sometimes be detected in precum, it is difficult to judge whether HIV is present in sufficient quantities for infection to occur. To guard against the possibility of infection with HIV or any other STI it is best to practice safer sex by using condoms.
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Giving And Receiving Oral Sex
Though semen and pre-cum are not the only routes for contracting HIV, they are two avenues. Ejaculating during oral sex increases the risk. If you or your partner feels ready to ejaculate, you can remove your mouth to avoid exposure.
Barrier methods like latex or polyurethane condoms and dental dams can be used during every oral sex act. Change condoms or dental dams if you move from the vagina or penis to the anus, or vice versa.
Also use lubricants to prevent friction and tearing. Any holes in the barrier methods can increase exposure risk.
Abstain from oral sex if you have any cuts, abrasions, or sores in your mouth. Any opening in the skin is an avenue for possible viral exposure.
Be careful not to cut or tear your partners skin with your teeth during oral sex. This opening can expose you to blood.
Reducing The Risk From Oral Sex
The risk from unprotected oral sex with someone with a detectable viral load increases if you have:
- a throat infection
- damage to the lining of the mouth or throat
- had recent dental work or your gums bleed a lot.
Avoid performing oral sex without protection on someone with a detectable viral load while you have any of the above.
Dont floss or brush teeth before oral sex . Regular check-ups for STIs will pick up infections in your throat.
Remember that other STIs can also be passed on through oral sex, including herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis.
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Is It True That Gay Men Are More At Risk For Hiv Than Other People
Although anyone can be at risk for HIV, some people can be more at risk depending upon the types of sexual practices and drug use they are engaging in. Being gay does not necessarily mean you are at higher risk, but certain activities gay men sometimes participate in might put them at greater risk. Overall, the gay male population in Canada has higher rates of HIV infection than some other populations. Stigma and homophobia can affect a person’s ability to access information about safer sex specifically for gay men.
How Could Hiv Infect The Mouth And Throat
HIV is not able to infect most cells in the mouth. Only one cell type found in the mouth is vulnerable to HIV infection .
The tissue of the mouth and oesophagus is also very thick compared with genital tissues, and fluids stay in contact with it for a very short time because swallowing clears the mouth regularly. The mouth is therefore generally regarded as an unlikely route of HIV transmission.
Saliva contains numerous factors that have been found to inhibit HIV and stomach acid is likely to inactivate HIV in the same way as other viruses .
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Condoms And Dental Dams For Safer Oral Sex
Using a barrier can lower the chance of getting or passing an STI through oral sex.
Visit a local public health unit, sexual health clinic or HIV organization to get free condoms! Some of these places also have free dental dams.
Production of this document has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
This resource was adapted from a resource originally published by the Canadian Public Health Association. CATIE thanks YouthCO and the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia for reviewing this resource. We also thank the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada and Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi, University of Toronto, for medical review.
Writer: Mallory Harrigan
Ways To Prevent Passing Hiv
There is very little to no chance of HIV being passed through oral sex, but for people who are at risk of passing or coming into contact with HIV through vaginal or anal sex here are some prevention options:
- Condoms are a great way to help prevent HIV and STIs. Just make sure to use them correctly each time you have sex.
- People who do not have HIV can also take medications to help prevent getting it. PrEP is medication that a person takes starting before and continuing after they might come into contact with HIV. Most people on PrEP take it every day.
- PEP is medication that can be taken up to 72 hours after a person might have come into contact with HIV, to help prevent the person from getting HIV. PEP is taken for 28 days. It is meant for emergencies only .
- People who have HIV can take medications daily to keep their bodies healthy and also prevent them from passing HIV to others through sex. This is because HIV medications can lower the amount of HIV in the body to a level so low that tests can’t detect it. This is called an undetectable viral load. When a person maintains an undetectable viral load, they cannot pass HIV through sex.
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When Is Oral Sex More Risky
Although HIV can be sexually transmitted, the term is most often used to refer to chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes, scabies, trichomonas vaginalis, etc.
If you are living with HIV, there is a higher risk of passing on HIV through someone performing oral sex on you, if you are not taking treatment and if you also have an untreated sexually transmitted infection. If you don’t have HIV and you are performing oral sex on someone who does have HIV, you are at more risk of acquiring HIV if you have cuts, sores or abrasions in your mouth or on your gums. There is also more risk if you have an infection in your throat or mouth which is causing inflammation.
For men, having a high viral load in the blood may also mean that viral load is high in the semen. Factors like untreated sexually transmitted infections can cause viral load in semen to increase.
For women, the levels of HIV in vaginal fluid vary. They are likely to be highest around the time of menstruation , when HIV-bearing cells shed from the cervix are most likely to be found in vaginal fluid, along with blood. Oral sex will therefore be more risky around the time of menstruation.
Interpreting The Numberswhat Additional Information Needs To Be Provided
Some clients may see these numbers and think their risk of HIV transmission is low. Therefore, caution is needed when interpreting them. If these numbers are provided to clients, they should be accompanied by information that helps shed light on why the risk may be higher than it seems.
Transmission can occur after one exposure.
It is important to emphasize that a person could become infected from having unprotected sex once or a person could have unprotected sex many times and not become infected, regardless of how low or high the risk per exposure is.
A risk of 1% would mean that an average of one infection would occur if 100 HIV-negative people were exposed to HIV through a certain type of sex. It does not mean that a person needs to be exposed 100 times for HIV infection to occur.
These are estimates of average risk in the absence of biological factors that increase risk.
The numbers in the table above are rough estimates. They are averages and do not represent the risk from all exposures to HIV through a certain type of sex.
The risk of HIV transmission may be much higher than these averages if biological risk factors are present. For example, research shows that STIs and some vaginal conditions, such as bacterial vaginosis, can increase the risk of HIV transmission by up to 8 times.6,7,8 As a result, the risk of an HIV-negative woman becoming infected through unprotected receptive vaginal sex could be closer to 1% if she has a vaginal STI.
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How Can You Reduce The Risks
There are several ways to reduce the risk of HIV transmission from oral sex. Naturally, some will be more acceptable than others to different individuals, so you must make your own decisions about the level of risk you find acceptable. If you would like to discuss these issues, ask to see a health adviser, or other health professional, at your HIV treatment centre or sexual health clinic. Many of the strategies below will also provide protection against other sexually transmitted infections:
If you are living with HIV, taking HIV treatment as prescribed, so that you maintain an undetectable viral load is the most effective way of preventing HIV being passed on.
If you are HIV negative and are concerned that you may be vulnerable to acquiring HIV, you may want to consider taking pre-exposure prophylaxis .
How Can You Prevent Getting Or Transmitting Hiv Through Sex
There are several ways to prevent getting or transmitting HIV through anal or vaginal sex.
If you have HIV, the most important thing you can do to prevent transmission and stay healthy is to take your HIV medicine , every day, exactly as prescribed. People living with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners. Read more about Treatment as Prevention. There also are other options to choose from, below.
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Strategies To Reduce Risk
As with any other mode of HIV transmission, prevention requires a combination of strategies to more effectively:
- Reduce the infectivity of the HIV-positive partner
- Reduce the susceptibility of the HIV-negative partner
Current evidence has shown that the consistent use of antiretroviral therapy in the HIV-infected partner completely eliminates the risk of HIV transmission when viral activity is suppressed to undetectable levels.
The effectiveness of the strategy known as Treatment as Prevention , is evidenced by the PARTNER1 and PARTNER2 studies in which not a single HIV infection occurred among 1,770 gay and heterosexual mixed-status couples despite engaging condomless anal or vaginal sex.
The studies, which ran from 2010 to 2018, showed unequivocally that undetectable equals untransmittable in a real-world setting.
The use of pre-exposure prophylaxis , whereby the uninfected partner is prescribed a daily dose of the HIV drug Truvada, can also reduce risk. Studies have shown that when taken daily, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%.
Although these figures may suggest that condoms are no longer needed, neither TasP nor PrEP can prevent other sexually transmitted diseases.
Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , only 59.8% of Americans with HIV are able to achieve an undetectable viral load. Without complete viral suppression, TasP is rendered useless, placing the uninfected partner at risk.
How To Have Oral Sex
- Oral sex is using your mouth and tongue to stimulate your partners genitals or anus.
- Like all sex, different people enjoy different things.
- There is very little risk of HIV infection from oral sex but other sexually transmitted infections such as herpes, gonorrhoea and syphilis are easily passed on.
- Using a condom or a dental dam helps to protect you from STIs.
- Avoid oral sex if either of you has sores around your mouth, genitals or anus, or and cuts, bleeding or infection in your throat or mouth.
‘Going down’, ‘rimming’ and ‘blow jobs’ are some of the many ways of describing oral sex. But whats the best way to do it?
Whether you are thinking about having oral sex for the first time or just want some more information read on for tips on how enjoy safe oral sex
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How Do You Give A Woman Oral Sex
Before you begin giving a woman oral sex, she may enjoy it if you spend some time kissing and touching her upper thighs and the area around her vagina first, to help her get aroused.
The whole genital area is sensitive, but for most women the clitoris is the most sensitive part. Gently part the outer lips of the vagina and look for the vaginal opening, and the hooded clitoris just above it.
Start off softly, using a relaxed tongue to make slow movements and work up to faster movements with a firmer tongue. You can experiment moving your tongue in different ways and try different rhythms taking cues from your partner to find out what she enjoys most.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
The best way to protect yourself or your partner during oral sex is to keep it 100. Be clear about your HIV status, and ask your partner to be clear about theirs.
If youre not sure about your status, get tested. In fact, its best for both you and your partner to get STI tests on the reg.
PSA on dental hygiene: Make it a priority. Taking care of your teeth and gums could prevent bleeding gums, mouth sores, or other issues that increase your risk of getting HIV during oral sex.
Recommended Reading: Can Someone Hiv Positive Become Hiv Negative
Putting A Number On It: The Risk From An Exposure To Hiv
This information was provided by CATIE . For more information, contact CATIE at 1-800-263-1638.
Author: James Wilton
Service providers working in HIV prevention are often asked by their patients and clients about the risk of HIV transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. What do the latest studies tell us about this risk? And how should we interpret and communicate the results?
How Do You Get Hiv From Sex
HIV is transmitted through semen , vaginal fluid, blood, and anal mucus. During sex without a condom the bodily fluids from one person can pass into the body of their sexual partner. This can happen through the mucous membranes of the penis, vagina and rectum, or sores in the mouth and throat.
You can only get HIV from someone who is living with HIV and has a detectable viral load.
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Whats The Risk For Types Of Oral Sex
Oral sex ranks very low on the list of ways HIV can be transmitted. Its more likely to transmit HIV through anal or vaginal sex. Its also possible to transmit the virus by sharing needles or syringes used for injecting drugs or tattooing.
However, the risk of contracting HIV through oral sex is not zero. The truth is, you can in theory still contract HIV this way. Theres just been from years of research to show that it has happened.
Why is it hard to get data?
Its difficult to know the absolute risk of transmitting HIV during oral sex acts. Thats because many sex partners who engage in oral sex of any type also engage in vaginal or anal sex. It may be difficult to know where the transmission occurred.
Fellatio carries some risk, but its low.
- If youre giving a blowjob. Receptive oral sex with a male partner who has HIV is considered exceptionally low-risk. In fact, a 2002 study found that the risk for HIV transmission through receptive oral sex was statistically zero.
- If youre receiving a blowjob. Insertive oral sex is an unlikely method of transmission, too. Enzymes in the saliva neutralize many viral particles. This may be true even if the saliva contains blood.
There are no documented cases of HIV being transmitted between partners through cunnilingus .
Anilingus , or rimming, has some risk, but it is negligible. Its especially low for receptive partners. In fact, the lifetime risk of transmitting HIV during rimming is