High risk sexual behaviour includes:
- Sex is paid for.
- The constant change of heterosexual partners.
- Heterosexual anal sex is unprotected.
- Sex with an intravenous drug user.
- “Tough” sex causes lesions, bruises, bleeding.
- Male sex (anal homosexual intercourse).
AIDS is transmitted by the HIV virus in blood, semen, and vagina fluids. It can be passed in skin sores and genital lesions too tiny to be seen with the unaided eye. It is also passed from mother to child in breast milk. Infected blood and semen contain the highest concentration of the virus. Vagina fluids have a lesser concentration. HIV may be present in sweat, saliva, and tears, but the concentrations are usually too weak for there to be any risk.
STDs, however, pass in very low concentrations. One germ can be enough. Studies suggest that syphilis and herpes are significant risk factors in the transmission of HIV. The sores of either disease can be on the mouth or inside the rectum, as well as on the genitals. In women, HIV is linked with a history of genital warts. It seems likely that STDs, which disrupt epithelial (lining) tissue, are important factors in the transmission of HIV. An appropriate way to avoid infection is to avoid direct contact with a partner’s semen, blood, or sores anywhere on the skin. Condoms provide some protection.