In Germany, safer sex is understood to be methods that prevent transmission of HIV.
Each of the following three safer sex methods provides protection from HIV transmission if applied correctly:
Condoms and femidoms protect you from HIV during vaginal sex (penis in the vagina) and anal sex (penis in the bum) and reduce the risk of infection with other sexually transmitted diseases. For anal sex or when the vagina is dry, you should always use a lot of oil-free lubricant gel (lube) to avoid injury. The lubricant also reduces the risk of damaging the condom. Further information
PrEP (short for “Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis”): With PrEP, an HIV-negative person takes HIV medication that protects against becoming infected with HIV. Further information
Protection through Therapy (also known as Treatment as Prevention/TasP): People with HIV take HIV medication to stop the virus from replicating in the body. In this case HIV can no longer be transmitted during sex. Further information
Condoms and femidoms protect you from HIV and reduce the risk of infection with other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B and C (you should get a vaccination against hepatitis A and B if you have sex with different partners).
Condoms can be obtained from pharmacies, supermarkets and sex shops; there are also condom dispensing machines. Condoms and lubricant gel (lube) are also available in places where men have sex with other men (saunas, darkroom bars, sex cinemas). Femidoms can be obtained from pharmacies and on the internet; they are relatively expensive in comparison to condoms.
Standard-size condoms fit most penises. But larger and smaller condoms are available. Models with a special ring in the middle that prevents the condom from slipping off are suitable for penises with a smaller circumference. You should always use a sufficient quantity of oil-free lubricant gel for anal sex or when the vagina is dry. Oil-based substances (Vaseline, massage oil, body lotion) destroy condoms.
Femidoms consists of an extremely thin plastic sheath closed at one end with a flexible ring at the front and one at the back. The front ring remains outside the vagina, and the back ring is inserted into the vagina as far as it can go until it reaches the cervix. Femidoms have to be coated inside and out with sufficient amounts of lubricant gel before they are inserted.
Important: Condoms and femidoms can provide reliable protection only if they are used correctly. Here the main thing is try it until you get it right!
PrEP (or HIV-PrEP) stands for "pre-exposure prophylaxis" and is a preventive measure prior to a risky contact. With thsi protection method, an HIV-negative person takes a certain HIV medication to protect themselves against becoming infected with HIV.
When it is properly used, PrEP protects as well as condoms/femidoms (female condoms) or Protection through Therapy.
With this method, it is important to have the support of a doctor and to be tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases on a regular basis.
PrEP does not provide protection against other sexually transmitted diseases.
In Germany PrEP is paid for by health insurance companies.
Information on PrEP is provided by counseling service organizations and some specialised HIV doctors practices.
Protection through Therapy
Protection through therapy (also known as Treatment as Prevention/TasP) prevents HIV infection during sex if one partner is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative.
The method is based on hiv-positive people taking HIV drugs and thus suppressing HIV reproduction in a stable manner. If HIV has not been detectable in their blood for at least half a year, there are hardly any viruses left in other bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal fluid. HIV can then no longer be transmitted even during sex.
A condom can be dispensed with under these conditions and is still protected from HIV. Protection through therapy is therefore also a safer sex method.
Important: The medications must be taken regularly and the effect of the medication must be checked regularly by a doctor.