also cause sores that make it easier for HIV to penetrate the bloodstream.
Is the Risk of HIV Transmission Higher With Condomless Sex?
HIV can be transmitted via the mucous membranes of the penis, vagina, and anus. It can also potentially be transmitted through cuts or sores on the mouth or other body areas.
Condoms and dental dams deliver a physical barrier that can help stop HIV transmission. When people engage in sex without condoms, they don’t have that layer of protection.
Is There a Window Period for HIV Testing?
When an individual contracts HIV, there’s a window period from the exposure to the virus until the time it will show up on an HIV test. Someone who has an HIV test in this window may obtain results that state they are HIV-negative, even though they have contracted the virus.
The length of the window period differs depending on biological factors and the kind of test used. It typically ranges from one to three months.
A person who has contracted HIV can still transmit it to other individuals during the window period. That’s because levels of the virus are more elevated at this point, even though HIV tests may not be able to catch it yet.
Sex without condoms increases the risk of STI transmission between partners. For some couples, pregnancy is also a risk of condomless sex.
You can decrease the risk of exposure to an STI by using condoms invariably every time you have sex. It also helps to get tested for STIs before sex with each new partner. Your doctor can provide guidance about how often to get tested for STIs.