Between 100% safety and 100% risk

Whether HIV transmission takes place is related to many different things. The most important ones are listed below (see Figure 1).

This is not just you and your partners’ HIV status or what you do with or without a condom. It includes viral load, type of sex, genetics, circumcision etc.

Very few activities have a 100% risk or 100% safety. The risk for any single exposure is usually somewhere inbetween these extremes.

The risk from each of these factors may be anywhere between high and zero. These all affect how safe or risky an activity might be and they also interact with and impact on other risk factors.

If you are worried that you may be HIV positive, the only way to know your HIV status is to take an HIV test.

The next pages discuss each of these risks in more detail.

Figure 1: Common risks for transmission

Fig 1 Risk for transmission

1 June 2016