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HIV and AIDS

What Are The Details In Having Safe Sex?

01/10/2005

Question:

What is safe sex and is it really safe? What can I do to make it safer?

Answer:

Safe sex is the concept of not catching any infection while still having sex. It was a concept originally developed in the gay community to avoid having any secretions (semen) touch any mucosal surface (like the mouth or anus/rectum). So for example, having your partner rub your penis with their hand and ejaculating (cum) into a towel. Or having your penis move back and forth between the breasts or under the arm instead in the mouth, vagina or rectum. It has also been extended to the idea of using a condom (rubbers) with sex. And, when having oral sex, using a device to prevent direct mouth to penis; rectum or vaginal contact like a 'dental dam' or saran wrap. The idea is to avoid having potentially infectious fluids (semen, vagina fluid, etc.) come in contact with a surface that might then result in HIV infection. These are the things that you can do to be safer when having sex. A couple of other tips. Don't have sex with someone you don't know very well. Getting tested for HIV before having sex with a new partner is a useful idea. Make sure any sex partners don't have obvious risks for having HIV like they use drugs, are gay/bisexual, or have had sex with someone with HIV in the past.

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Response by:

Carl   Fichtenbaum, MD Carl Fichtenbaum, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati