Safer sex

Safer sex is understood to be methods that prevent the transmission of HIV.

Each of the following three safer sex methods provides protection from HIV transmission, if applied correctly:

Condoms and femidoms prevent HIV from entering the mucous membranes and the body during sexual intercourse. Further information on condoms and Further information on femidoms

PrEP (acronym for “pre-exposure prophylaxis”): PrEP is a form of prevention where people exposed to a high risk of HIV infection proactively take anti-HIV medication that protects them from getting infected with HIV. Further information on PrEP 

Treatment as Prevention: HIV therapy suppresses viral replication in the body. HIV can then no longer be transmitted. Further information on Treatment as Prevention 

What do you need to remember during oral sex?

During oral sex (sucking or licking the penis, vagina or anus), there is virtually no risk of HIV transmission, because the oral mucosa is very stable. Even if sperm or menstrual blood enters the mouth, the risk of transmission is very low – only a few cases where HIV was transmitted this way have been reported worldwide.

Safer sex strategies

In addition to the safer sex rules, there are other possibilities to reduce the risk of an HIV infection – especially in a permanent relationship.

The “Testing Together” strategy involves both partners getting tested for HIV. If both are HIV-negative and do not have sex with other partners, they can stop using condoms.

Some couples expand this rule: They have an open relationship and exclusively practice safer sex outside the relationship so that they can have sex without a condom within the relationship. This requires very clear arrangements. That is why this strategy is called “Negotiated Safety”.

“Testing Together” and “Negotiated Safety” require a great deal of trust in the partner: Is he or she really not having unprotected sex with other partners? If this does happen, he or she must be honest about it in order not endanger the steady partner.

Important: Find out more about the HIV test.