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"Can I Get HIV from Vaginal Sex?"

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Updated November 29, 2009

Question: "Can I Get HIV from Vaginal Sex?"
One viewer asks a question about HIV transmission:

"Can I get HIV from vaginal sex?

Answer:
Yes, it is possible to get HIV through from vaginal sex. In fact, in much of the world it is the most common way the virus is transmitted. HIV can be found in the blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid ("pre-cum"), or vaginal fluid of a person infected with the virus. The lining of the vagina can tear and allow HIV to enter the body. Direct absorption of HIV through the mucous membranes that line the vagina also is a possibility.

Through vaginal sex the male is at less risk for HIV transmission than is the female. However, HIV can enter the body of the male through his urethra (the opening at the tip of the penis) or through small cuts or open sores on the penis, making infection with HIV possible. The risk of HIV infection increases if you or your partner has a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases

If you choose to have vaginal intercourse, use a latex condom to protect both you and your partner from the risk of HIV and other STDs. Studies have shown that latex condoms are very effective in when used correctly and consistently. If either partner is allergic to latex, plastic (polyurethane) condoms for either the male or female can be used. Important Warning! - Lambskin condoms do not offer protection from HIV and STDs and therefore should be avoided.

Using a Condom Properly

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