Safer sex - what is it?

    Safer sex is any kind of sexual activity that reduces the chances of becoming infected with HIV or transmitting HIV, or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

    Many activities – such as hugging, kissing, massage and touching – are completely safe for HIV transmission . No one has ever gotten or passed on HIV from these sexual activities. However, it’s possible to get or pass on certain other STIs from these activities.

    Fucking (anal or vaginal sex) without a latex condom is an easy way to become infected, or to pass on HIV and other STIs. These activities are considered “high risk” sexual activities for HIV transmission. They can be made much safer by using a latex condom and water-based lubricant.

    For other sexual activities, the chances of getting, or passing on HIV are small. These activities (like oral sex) are considered “low risk” for HIV. Oral sex can be made even safer by using a barrier, such as a non-lubricated or flavoured condom, a dental dam, a condom cut in half lengthwise, or non-microwaveable cling wrap. Make sure that the barrier is big enough to cover any openings and to prevent any fluids from getting around it. Using latex barriers also reduces your risks for other STIs. In the case of rimming (licking someone’s ass hole), using a dental dam, a latex condom cut lengthwise, or non-microwaveable cling wrap placed across the anus, will eliminate your risk for hepatitis A and the possibility of picking up parasites.

    If you are living with HIV, using condoms for sexual intercourse, never sharing sex toys, and using gloves for fisting are important for stopping the sexual spread of hepatitis C between people living with HIV.
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    For more information about safer sex, call or visit ACT.

    Revised October 2009.