Sexual activity and condom use
The type of sex you have (anal, oral or vaginal) and whether or not you use a condom are both related to the risk of getting HIV.
Oral sex is generally a lower risk. Penetrative (anal and vaginal sex) without a condom is generally a higher risk. The risk is highest for the receptive partner in vaginal and anal sex than for an insertive man.
Condoms used correctly protect 100% against HIV transmission and some other STIs. Proper use includes applying lubrication where required to avoid tears and checking it is in place (see Figures 4 and 5).
When research reports that condoms are only 85-95% effective, this is because people who use condoms do not use them every time.
Figure 4 – How to use a male condom
Figure 5 – Using a female condom
Last updated: 1 June 2016.