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Can mutual masturbation transmit AIDS?The Body: Rick Sowadsky M.S.P.H., C.D.S, Answers to Safe Sex Questions
Jan 3, 1997

Dear Mr Sowadsky, I had recently met a guy and we masturbated each other to ejaculation. We did not use condoms but I have examined that I have no wounds on my genital. We also kissed but there was no oral or anal penetration. Is this sort of actvity considered risky?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

What the two of you did together was considered safer sex, meaning there was a risk of infection, but it's a low risk. Let me review with you how HIV is, and is not, transmitted between two people.

Blood, pre-cum, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk all contain high concentrations of HIV, and all have been linked to transmission of the virus.

Saliva, tears, sweat, and urine can have the virus in them, but in such small concentrations that nobody has ever been infected through them. However, if any body fluid is visibly contaminated with blood, the risk of transmission exists.

The HIV virus must get into the bloodstream in order to infect you. It can enter your bloodstream through a fresh cut/abrasion, or a lesion from another STD. These cuts/abrasions can be so small, you may not be able to visually see them. If HIV doesn't get into the bloodstream, you will not get the infection. Blood, pre-cum, semen, vaginal secretions, or breast milk must have direct access to your bloodstream in order to infect you. Activities where this can happen include vaginal intercourse (both partners), anal intercourse (both partners), giving oral sex, sharing needles (IV, tattoo etc.), and rarely through receiving a blood transfusion. HIV can also be transmitted from mother to child. HIV is NOT transmitted through any form of casual contact.

In summary, in order for infection to occur, 3 things must happen:

1) You must be exposed to pre-cum, semen, vaginal secretions, blood, or breast milk.

2) The virus must get directly into your bloodstream through some fresh cut, open sore, abrasion etc.

3) Transmission must go directly from 1 person to the other very quickly.....the virus does not survive more than a few minutes outside the body.

No matter what the circumstances are, if you think about these 3 criteria for transmission, you'll be able to determine whether you're at risk for HIV or not. But do remember that other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) can be transmitted easier than HIV, so what might be low risk for HIV may be high risk for other STD's.

If you look at mutual masturbation specifically, it would be unlikely for the HIV virus to enter the bloodstream. However, when we look at other STD's, like Herpes, Syphilis, and Genital Warts, there would be a much greater possibility of infection. This is because these STD's can be transmitted by direct physical contact with the lesions/growths of the other person. Also diseases like scabies and lice can be transmitted by direct physical contact with the other person. So although mutual masturbation is low risk for HIV, it can be risky for other STD's.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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