How risky is sharing sex toys?
Dildos and buttplugs can be involved in the transmission of HIV, hepatitis A, B and C as well as other STIs, and a variety of gut infections if you share them. Anal mucus or blood from a person on sex toys could lead to infections if the same toys are then used on someone else. Using toys may cause damage to the lining of the arse. This damage can be microscopic, removing just the surface layer of the arse's lining so it won't necessarily be severe or cause bleeding. If your arse play is followed by unprotected fucking, this damage means there is a greater chance of HIV transmission.

How can I reduce the risk?
The easiest way to avoid the risk is not to share sex toys. You can also use a condom to cover the dildo, and change it between partners if using it on more than one person. Washing sex toys thoroughly after use, using warm soapy water or a sterilising fluid designed for baby bottles, should prevent any infection remaining on the toy. Cock toys like Fleshlites and sheaths should be cleaned between users to avoid passing on HIV or other STIs. If a guy with HIV cums inside a Fleshlite and a negative guy uses it afterwards, he could catch HIV through his foreskin, the head of his cock or his urethra (the tube you piss through). The same is true of wanking sheaths. You could also catch other STIs in this way. As with dildos, you should wash cock toys thoroughly after use, using warm soapy water or a sterilising fluid designed for baby bottles. This should prevent any infection remaining on the toy.

What else should I know?
If you're going to improvise and create your own sex toys (and we seriously recommend that you don't), avoid anything with sharp edges or anything that may break inside you. If your sex toy doesn't have a base, be careful not to let it go too deep inside you, or there is a risk that it may get lost up there and you'll have to make an embarrassing visit to the local A&E department (and no, they won't believe you when you tell them you were doing the cleaning naked and fell over).

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