The Ohio HIV/STD Hotline gets questions every day about sexual health, HIV, and STIs. Here are some of our favorite and most common questions we get to answer:

  • Q: How much HIV is in pre-cum?

    A: Pre-cum is generally considered to have low levels of HIV, but there is no way to know for sure how much HIV virus is in pre-cum. It will vary depending on the individual and a variety of other circumstances. To be safe, avoid coming in contact with pre-cum in general.

  • Q: Can I tell if someone has HIV or an STI just by looking at them?

    A: No. There are no visible signs that clearly indicate someone has HIV or an STI. The only way to know is to ask the person if they know their HIV/STI status. If not, it’s recommend to get tested and practice safer sex.

  • Q: Can I catch HIV or an STI from a toilet seat?

    A: No. HIV and STIs cannot live long outside of the body and will not survive if left on something like a toilet seat.

  • Q: If someone is HIV positive, but has an undetectable viral load, is it safe to have sex without a condom?

    A: Not necessarily. An undetectable viral load is only a measure of the HIV levels in a blood sample, but there is no sure way to know or average how much HIV virus there is in semen or vaginal fluids since it varies from person to person. So having sex without a condom is not considered safe, but having an undetectable status does lower the risk of transmission.

  • Q: Can I get HIV from kissing and/or making out with someone?

    A: HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva, so kissing and making out is totally safe. Even if the other person is living with HIV, your unbroken skin is a good barrier. In fact, you can’t get HIV from hugging, kissing, shaking hands, or grinding.

  • Q. Can I get an STI from kissing and/or making out with someone?

    A. Some STIs, like Herpes or HPV, may be passed through kissing or making out. Make sure there are no outbreaks or sores present before sexual activity.

  • Q: What's the risk of getting HIV from rimming?

    A: There is low to zero risk of getting HIV from rimming, but STIs, like herpes and chlamydia, are much easier to get from rimming.

  • Q: Can I prevent HIV or an STI if I douche after sex?

    A: No. In fact, douching may push the virus further up into your system and may cause more health issues.

  • Q: Can I get HIV or an STI from oral sex?

    A: Yes, it is possible for you to get HIV or an STI through giving oral sex. The risk increases if you have cuts or sores around or in your mouth and/or if your partner ejaculates in your mouth. Throat infections for STIs like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are common and noticeably unpleasant. It is recommended to use latex condoms and/or dental dams during oral sex.

  • Q: If you get an STI once, are you immune from it in the future?

    A: No. A lot of STIs can be cured easily, but you can get them again. If you get treated for an STI, it is recommended that your partner(s) also get tested and treated as well.

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