Student Health Services

Sexual Health

Some Statistics

  • As of December 1997, an estimated 30.6 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Worldwide, approximately one in every 100 adults aged 15 to 49 is HIV-infected.
  • A recent study estimated that 650,000 to 900,000 U.S. residents were living with the HIV infection.
  • Among men diagnosed with AIDS in the United States in 1996, male-to-male sexual contact accounted for the largest proportion of cases (50%), followed by injection drug use (23%).
  • Among women diagnosed with AIDS in the U.S. in 1996, most acquired the HIV infection through sexual contact with a man with or at risk of the HIV infection (40%) or through injection drug use (34%).
  • From 1985 to 1996, the proportion of U.S. AIDS cases in women reported each year increased from 7 to 20 percent.
  • Heterosexual transmission accounts for an increasing proportion of AIDS cases in the United States. From 1988 to 1995, the proportion of U.S. AIDS cases attributed to heterosexual contact each year grew from 4.8 to 17.7 percent.
  • Among U.S. residents with AIDS reported in 1996, blacks accounted for a larger proportion of AIDS cases (41%) than whites (38%) for the first time. Hispanics accounted for 19%, while Asians/Pacific Islanders and American Indians/Alaskan Natives were fewer than 1% of the 1996 cases.
  • Approximately 50,140 deaths among people with AIDS occurred in the U.S. in 1995. In 1996, the estimated number of AIDS deaths in the U.S. was 23% lower (38,780).

A Spectrum of Risk

When thinking about the risk of HIV transmission, its useful to think of a spectrum of risk associated with different activities…

  • Anal intercourse without a condom is the riskiest practice. Anal sex can open cuts and sores for blood transmission between the penis and rectum, and HIV can attach itself to cells in the lower rectum.
  • Vaginal intercourse without a condom is also a high risk. HIV may be easier to transmit to the receptive partner than to the insertive partner.
  • Oral sex is a moderate to low risk, depending on the presence of open cuts of sores on the mouth or genitals. Since pre-cum may contain HIV, it is not necessarily any safer to stop before ejaculation. The risk of contracting HIV by having oral sex performed on you seems extremely low. For more information on this please read “Is Oral Sex Safe” .
  • Kissing is a low- to no-risk activity. To minimize cuts in your mouth before hand, avoid brushing your teeth right before kissing as this can lead to cuts along the gums.
  • Touching, stroking, massage, and masturbation do not transmit HIV.

Protect Yourself

If you are not practicing abstinence (100 percent effective), plan on protecting yourself …

  • Whenever you engage in anal or vaginal intercourse, use a latex condom the correct way!
    • Put the condom on the erect penis prior to any direct contact of the penis to the vagina or anus.
    • Use condoms that have a reservoir tip, or pinch half an inch at the tip of the condom to collect semen. Put a drop of spermicidal jelly in the tip and then unroll the condom carefully, smoothing out air bubbles, all the way down and over the penis.
    • Use adequate amounts of water-based lubricant like KY Jelly. Avoid using oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline, hand lotions, and shortening.
    • After ejaculation, withdraw the penis while it is still erect; hold on to the base of the condom carefully, avoiding spilling its contents.
  • During oral sex on a man, flavored latex condoms are one means to protect yourself (and have a little fun!). Dental dams (or plastic wrap as long as its not microwavable) provide protection for vaginal or anal oral sex.
  • Alcohol and drug use can seriously impair your ability to make decisions concerning sexual practices and evaluating risk. Know your limits when you use, and learn skills for keeping yourself safe ….