SFSU AIDS Coordinating Committee

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Risk Behaviors

How is HIV transmitted?

  1. Unprotected vaginal, oral and anal intercourse
  2. HIV infected mother to child through breast feeding
  3. Blood to blood, such as sharing un-sterilized injection drug needles

What sexual behaviors are more, or less risky?

HIV must be present for infection to occur, so knowing you and your partner’s HIV status is essential if you are thinking of not using protection (condom) for intercourse.

Low Risk or No Risk Behaviors:

  • Kissing, dancing, hugging, body rubbing (outercourse) and massage are no-risk behaviors for contracting HIV; mutual masturbation if there are no cuts on the hand, penis or vagina is very low risk.
  • Some STIs (sexually transmitted infections) such as herpes or genital warts can be transmitted by body to body contact, without intercourse.

  • Moderate Risk Behaviors:

    Oral sex (on a man is a higher risk than oral on a woman) is moderately risky behavior. The risk is increased when there are open sores in the mouth, on the penis or vagina. Flossing and rigorous brushing before oral sex can cause small cuts in the gums, increasing the risk; mouthwash is an alternative. If there is ejaculate (cum) or vaginal blood present, oral sex is high risk behavior. Using condoms on penis or dental dam on vagina can make oral sex a safe behavior. Oral sex on anus is very low risk for HIV, but like all unprotected oral sex, has some risk for STIs; using a dental dam reduces this risk.

    High Risk Behaviors:

    Unprotected vaginal and anal sex, and oral sex with ejaculate (cum) or vaginal blood are high risk behaviors as is using and sharing un-sterilized injection drug needles. HIV infected mother breast feeding is also high risk behavior for mother to child transmission.

    What about tattoos and piercing?

    Contaminated piercing needles and ink can transmit HIV. Always ask about sterilization practices before getting a tattoo or piercing and make sure that the artist only uses disposable needles, and ink cups.

    Some other things to consider.

    • Thinking that you can't get HIV or that your partner is too young or too attractive or too classy to have HIV can increase your likelihood of participating in uprotected sex.
    • Being high on drugs and alcohol can increase the chance that you’ll do something that you would not do sober and increase the incidence of unprotected and unplanned intercourse.
    • Using condoms for vaginal intercourse also prevents unplanned pregnancy.
    • Be Proud that you take control of decision regarding your body and your safety. Taking responsibility for your own actions can decrease your chance of becoming infected with HIV or an STD.

    Note to HIV positive individuals.

    Being treated for HIV and having unprotected sex with a HIV positive partner can increase risks of becoming re-infected with a different, potentially, drug resistant strain of HIV.

    HIV Antibody Test is available for all SFSU students, on campus, at the Student Health Services Center. All Bay Area Counties have Anonymous HIV test Sites.

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