Can I get HIV from anal sex?

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Yes. In fact, unprotected (without a condom) anal sex (intercourse) is considered to be very risky behavior. It is possible for either sex partner to become infected with HIV during anal sex. HIV can be found in the blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, or vaginal fluid of a person infected with the virus. In general, the person receiving the semen is

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at greater risk of getting HIV because the lining of the rectum is thin and may allow the virus to enter the body during anal sex. However, a person who inserts his penis into an infected partner also is at risk because HIV can enter through the urethra (the opening at the tip of the penis) or through small cuts, abrasions, or open sores on the penis.

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Not having (abstaining from) sex is the most effective way to avoid HIV. If people choose to have anal sex, they should use a latex condom. Most of the time, condoms work well. However, condoms are more likely to break during anal sex than during vaginal sex. Thus, even with a condom, anal sex can be risky. A person should use generous amounts of water-based lubricant in addition to the condom to reduce the chances of the condom breaking.

For more information on latex condoms, see "Male Latex Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases."

If you would like more information or have personal concerns, call the CDC National AIDS Hotline at 1-800-342-AIDS (2437) (English), 1-800-344-SIDA (7432) (Spanish), or 1-800-243-7889 (TTY).

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Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention
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Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention

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