Condoms and safe sex

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Safe sex is any activity that prevents semen, blood, anal mucosa or vaginal fluids from getting into the bloodstream of another person. If you are HIV positive and not on treatment, HIV is usually most detectable in these fluids. 

Preventing the risk of transmission during anal or vaginal sex  is most simply accomplished by using condoms.

HIV is not transmitted through kissing, sucking, rubbing, rimming, fingering or fisting  (providing there are no cuts, sores or scratches on their hands).

There is a very low risk of passing HIV on through oral sex. However, if you’re the male insertive partner and come in their mouth, any cuts or ulcers in your receptive partner's mouth may allow the virus to enter their bloodstream. Oral sex with women poses little risk as there is insufficient HIV present in women’s vaginal fluids to be passed on this way. 

As well as preventing HIV, condoms also provide an excellent shield against many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). When used consistently and with water-based lubricant, condoms still offer the best all-round protection during anal sex; and are also one of the simplest contraceptive devices to use for vaginal sex.

See also Sexual health, PEP, PrEP and microbicides and Treatment as prevention.

Condom Animation by Nathanael Scott