- Prevention and condoms
- Prevention and female condoms
- Prevention and glyde dams/dental dams/oral barriers
- Prevention and gloves
Any kind of unprotected (without the use of a barrier) sexual activity may result in sexual transmission of HIV. The risk differs depending on the type of sexual activity.
In order for sexual transmission of HIV to occur there must be:
At least one person living with HIV (HIV positive)
At least one person who is not living with HIV (HIV negative)
And at least one type of unprotected sexual activity between these people.
To avoid sexual transmission of HIV the most effective way of all is to:
Know your own sexual health status by having a full sexual health screening.
Know the sexual health status of your sexual partner(s)
Sometimes you may decide to share sexual activity with people who cannot tell you their sexual health status. You may never have had the conversation with your current partner for example. This means that they don’t know if they are living with HIV, so you don’t know if you can contract it from them.
There are many types of sexual activity you can engage in that carry no risk of HIV transmission. For more information about this please check out our Safer Sex pages located in both the men’s and women’s sexual health section.
- Oral sex – mouth to penis, vagina or anus
- Penetrative sex – penis or sex toys in the vagina or anus
- Fisting – fingers or fists in the vagina or anus
- Blood sports – the use of needles, branding, scarring or other blood letting activities during sexual activity
It is possible to share all these types of sexual activity without risking HIV transmission by using barriers. Barriers include condoms, female condoms, glyde dams and latex gloves. All these forms of barriers are free to anyone who wants them from the Red Ribbon Project, you just need to come into the office and ask the receptionist for them.
If you are not at risk from HIV through any other means of transmission (blood or pregnancy) then condoms can protect you or your sexual partner(s) from HIV as the HIV cannot pass through the condom.
- You want to put your penis into someone’s body – mouth, vagina or anus
- You want to use a sex toy inside someone’s body – mouth, vagina or anus
- You want to put someone’s penis into your body – mouth, vagina or anus
- You want someone to put a sex toy inside your body – mouth, vagina or anus
Whilst the condom is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from HIV transmission, it only does so if used correctly. If you would like to learn how to use a condom safely please contact us.
For those people who are allergic to latex or for those women and men who don’t like condoms but still wish to use a barrier for sexual activity, there is the Female Condom.
- It can be inserted for up to 8 hours before sex so it doesn’t have to interrupt the flow of sexual activity
- It is not dependant on the hardness of the male erection and withdrawal does not have to happen immediately after ejaculation
- It is not tight or constricting
- It can be used with both oil and water based lubricants
- There are less allergic reactions associated with its use
- It covers a wider area of the labia so can reduce risk of other skin to skin contracted Sexually Transmitted Infection’s such as Herpes and Warts
Whilst the female condom is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from HIV transmission, it only does so if used correctly. If you would like to learn how to use a female condom safely please contact us.
Illustrated female condom instructions are located on both the Men’s and Women’s sexual health sections of this website.
Oral sex is a widely accepted as a low risk activity, but there is still a risk. If you want to lick someone’s anus or vagina and don’t want to risk HIV transmission then you can use a glyde dam.
It is also possible to create oral barriers from latex gloves, condoms and female condoms by cutting them open.
If you would like to know how to use oral barriers safely please contact us.
- If the woman who is being penetrated is on her period
- If the sexual activity is of the nature to potentially cause damage to the inside of the vagina or anus
- If the person who is penetrating has cuts, wounds or sores on their hand or around their fingers
- If the sexual activity involves blood letting in which case we recommend you learn the universal precautions
If you wish to insert your fingers or fist into a person’s anus or vagina and you don’t want risk contracting HIV, you can cover your hand with a latex glove, if you are allergic to latex then there are non-latex alternatives available.
This must be a particular type of glove, (latex) the kind used by doctors, nurses, first aiders and people who work in delicatessens or prepare food.
When using latex gloves during sexual activity make sure you have a size that fits you. Gloves tend to come in small, medium and large. Also make sure you either wash the gloves directly after use or take them off without touching your skin. This is easy to do, but hard to explain so if you would like to learn how to do this please contact us and we can arrange for you to have a demonstration.
Latex gloves need to be thrown away after use as they are intended for single use only.
Latex gloves can be bought from chemists and can also be found in first aid boxes.
The Red Ribbon Project supplies free latex gloves for anyone who wants them.