Risk of HIV is not the same for all sex acts. While PrEP for HIV-negative men and HIV medications for HIV-positive men dramatically reduce risk, it’s still good to know what the different levels of risk are, since you may not always have a lot of information to go on.
If someone is recently infected and not on medications, they’re much more infectious than people who are on medication. It’s important to remember that someone could be infected with HIV and not know it. That’s why it’s important to get tested regularly.
- Oral sex carries almost no risk of HIV transmission.
- Condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV transmission during anal sex.
- Bottoming without a condom is riskier than topping without a condom.
- If you or your partner is on PrEP, the odds of transmitting HIV are extremely low.
- If you or your partner has an undetectable viral load, the odds of transmitting HIV are negligible. Undetectable = Untransmittable.
No risk for HIV transmission:
Kissing, mutual masturbation, rimming, frottage, massage, water sports, bondage, dirty talk and role play, spanking, wrestling.
Little to no risk for HIV transmission:
Medium risk for HIV transmission:
Topping without a condom.
High risk for HIV transmission:
Bottoming without a condom, sharing needles and/or works during intravenous drug use.
Of course, these ranges apply only to HIV, not for other STDs such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or hepatitis. Some STDs can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact in areas not covered by a condom.
While there are several behaviors that are no risk or low risk for HIV transmission, remember: the most common method of HIV transmission is bottoming without a condom, unless the negative partner is on PrEP or the positive partner is on HIV medication.
Can I get HIV from kissing?
What’s the likelihood of getting infected through oral sex?
From giving a blow job: Oral sex is much less risky than anal or vaginal sex – but HIV still can enter through open cuts and sores, or possibly by infecting the lining of the mouth. There are some documented cases of people getting HIV through their mouth. Researchers agree it’s extremely, extremely rare.
Once semen gets past the mouth, stomach acid and enzymes in the esophagus kill the virus. So swallowing or spitting out semen (cum or precum) reduces your risk for HIV, compared with letting it sit in your mouth.
To reduce your risk even more, make sure you keep the mucous membranes in your mouth healthy – don’t perform oral for about 45 minutes after you brush your teeth, floss, or engage in any other aggravating oral behavior, and not at all when you have open sores. Remember, while the chance of catching HIV from oral sex is extremely low, you can easily catch other STDs.
From getting a blow job: There are no cases reported, so most likely zero. There is a risk, however, of getting other STDs.
Rimming: None. However, there is a risk of getting other STDs including hepatitis.
Some people like to know the statistical likelihood of a specific sexual act. Here are those numbers, courtesy of Poz.
Here is information on getting tested for HIV.