How infectious is HIV?
HIV is not as infectious as some other viral diseases. If you have sex with someone with HIV and are exposed to the virus, it does not necessarily mean that you will become HIV-positive.

  • Some research shows that the likelihood of HIV transmission when a negative man is fucked, without a condom, by an HIV-positive man is around 1% (one time in every 100) [1].
  • HIV is more likely to be transmitted if the HIV-positive man has a high viral load, which is more likely if he is not on treatment, or if either partner has another STI [2].
  • It's important to remember that while some people fuck without condoms many times before they get HIV, some people get infected after just one unprotected fuck.
  • The likelihood of exposure from oral sex resulting in HIV transmission is extremely low.

How do I protect myself from HIV?
You can protect yourself or your partner from HIV by ensuring that exposure to HIV doesn’t happen, or by reducing the likelihood of transmission if HIV exposure does happen.

Methods for preventing HIV exposure include:

  • using condoms
  • only having sex with other men you are certain are HIV-negative (sero-sorting)
  • only having non-penetrative sex, such as wanking.

Methods for reducing the likelihood of transmission if you are exposed to HIV include:

  • medical preventions, such as PEP, PrEP 
  • relying on the positive partner being less infectious as a result of an undetectable viral load.

Other methods which reduce the likelihood of transmission include:

  • withdrawal (the positive partner not cumming inside the negative partner)
  • strategic positioning (the positive partner being the bottom in penetrative sex).

Condom use and all of the methods of reducing the likelihood of transmission are not 100% guaranteed to prevent transmission. 

What if I’ve been exposed to HIV?
If you think you have been exposed to HIV in the past 72 hours, taking post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) may be able to stop you from becoming infected. PEP is only likely to be effective in the first 72 hours after exposure. Further information on preventing exposure to HIV and reducing the likelihood of transmission is provided in our Condoms and lube and Unprotected sex.




Read more
1 Jin F, Jansson J, Law M, Prestage GP, Zablotska I, Imrie JCG, Kippax SC, Kaldor JM, Grulich AE, Wilson DP. Per-contact probability of HIV transmission in homosexual men in Sydney in the era of HAART. AIDS, 2010;24(6):907-913.
2 Zuckerman RA, Whittington WLH, Celum CL, Collis TK, Lucchetti AJ, Sanchez JL, Hughes JP, Sanchez JL, Coombs RW. Higher concentrations of HIV RNA in rectal mucosa secretions than in blood and seminal plasma, among men who have sex with men, independent of antiretroviral therapy. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2004;189:156-161.