Sexual activity, which completely eliminates the risk of infection, is safe sex. However, any sexual activity is associated with some risk. A conservative term “safer sex” is used instead.
Safer sex involves sexual activity between two uninfected people.
Any sexual activity which does not involve the entry of body fluids into the partner's body is safe, such as blood semen, vaginal fluids etc. Sex can be made safer by using a condom consistently or by practicing non-penetrative sex.
Condoms and the prevention of HIV infection: some precautions
Condoms make sex safer when used properly but they are not 100 percent safe. Safety factors to check on when buying and using condoms are:
Expiry date of the condom: Do not use one which has expired.
Storage: Condoms should be kept away from heat (for example, from car glove compartments, direct sunlight) and pressure (for example, sitting on a wallet containing condoms).
Making sure that sharp objects, for example fingernails, do not tear a condom during use.
Making sure that the air is expelled from the teat of the condom while wearing, so as to prevent it from bursting during intercourse.
Condoms and sexual pleasure
Condoms do not reduce sexual pleasure, as sexual pleasure is a perceived pleasure. Psychologically, some people perceive a loss of pleasure when using a condom. Whereas ribbed condoms, for example, are known to increase sexual pleasure.
Do contraceptives like Today, the diaphragm, and the pill protect a woman from getting the HIV infection?
No, they do not. These contraceptives only prevent a woman from getting pregnant but do not prevent the potentially infected semen from coming into contact with the lining of the vagina or cervix. If the HIB or organisms causing STD (Sexually transmitted Diseases) are present in the semen, they can still get into a woman's body and infect her.
There is a lot you can do to keep yourself protected from getting the HIV infection.
- Learn the facts about HIV and AIDS
Assess your own risk behaviours (unsafe sex, sharing needles etc)
Postpone as much as possible, sex until marriage, or else practice safe or safer sex.
Do not feel shy to talk about your doubts and fears. Get these clarified.
Verify that any blood product you receive has been screened for HIV.
Verify that any needles/syringes or invasive equipment being used on you is sterile.
If you are going for procedures such as tattooing, ear piercing, or acupuncture, verify that the equipment to be used on you is sterile.
Avoid alcohol and drugs as they affect your judgement, and can induce you to take risks you would not otherwise take, like having unsafe sex, sharing needles, or driving rashly.
Do not let peer pressure force you into unsafe activities.