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Sexual Health Clinic



Risk of HIV infection

HIV is transmitted through the exchange of blood-based body fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk and blood.

HIV can be passed on through unsafe sex (i.e. not using a condom) with someone infected with the virus. The risk of HIV transmission is considered to be greater from certain ‘at risk’ groups – those of sub-Saharan African or Afro-Caribbean origin, injecting drug users (particularly from London) and homosexual (gay) men and bisexual men. It should be noted that HIV rates in Hull and East Yorkshire are low, but rising.

The risk of infection also depends on the type of sexual activity engaged in; the receptive partner in vaginal or anal intercourse (i.e. the person being penetrated) is at greater risk than the insertive partner, and both these activities are considered high risk. The risk from oral sex is comparatively low, although this is increased if there is an infection in or ulcers in the mouth of the person receiving, or on the genitalia of the person penetrating as this provides a route for the virus into the blood stream.

Having another sexually transmitted infection (STI) greatly increases the risk of getting or giving HIV. This is especially true of STIs that cause sores on the genitalia, such as herpes and syphilis.


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