HIV i-Base

HIV testing and risks of sexual transmission (January 2013)

This guide is about sexual transmission of HIV and HIV testing.

It includes information on:

  • How HIV risk is more than just about condoms.
  • How and when different tests can be used.
  • What test results mean, especially in relation to the time since your last potential risk.
  • The importance of making your own decisions about your sexual health.

Although you can stay negative by abstinence, this guide is written for people who want to have sex.

Condoms are excellent protection against HIV. But people still become HIV positive each year for complex reasons. The main reasons condoms don’t always work is because they are not used every time.

This booklet doesn’t talk in great details about safer sex. Instead, we focus on other factors associated with HIV transmission. These are all important to understand your risk from any single exposure.