Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on September 2, 2011

Can I get HIV/AIDS from dry humping?

Can you get HIV/AIDS from dry humping with your underwear on? I know there’s a slight chance of pregnancy, but if the girl has HIV and I ejaculate onto her is there any chance of me getting HIV? Thanks!

answered by
Eric Christoff, MD, AAHIVM on September 2, 2011

Thanks for your questions. I can tell your sexual health is important to you, and that you want to be as safe as possible. I’ll do my best to help.

First, let’s talk about the difference between HIV and AIDS. HIV is a virus that weakens the immune system and makes it harder for the body to fight off infections. While HIV causes AIDS, many HIV-positive people do not have AIDS. Without treatment, HIV can progress to AIDS. But with treatment, the effects of HIV can be slowed down, and it can take a decade or more to develop AIDS…in fact, some people with HIV never get AIDS.

Underwear does not protect you from HIV. HIV spreads when blood, semen or vaginal fluids from an infected person enter your body through a cut, a sore or mucous membranes…like your eyes, the inside of your anus or the opening of your urethra at the end of your penis. If your penis penetrated your partner’s vagina during dry humping, you may be at risk.

That said, the risk of HIV and STDs is lower if you did not ejaculate inside her, if you used protection, and if you don’t have any cuts or sores on your penis or in your mouth that may have come in contact with her blood or vaginal fluids.

There are other ways to get HIV, too…did you know that you can also get HIV from unprotected oral sex and sharing needles? And many times, HIV doesn’t show any signs or symptoms for a long time. The only way to know for sure if you have HIV – or another STD – is to get tested.  

To be on the safe side, while you’re being tested for HIV, you may also want to get tested for some other common STDs. Detecting an STD early will allow your doctor to start treatment, if necessary, which can reduce your risk of possible long-term complications from untreated STDs.

Finally, talk to your partner. If you’re getting tested, so should she. In fact, in women, timely detection of STDs can hep prevent cervical cancer, infertility (the inability to have children) and other health problems. It’s very important for both of you to know where you stand and get treatment if you need it…not just for HIV, but for all STDs.

To learn more about HIV causes and protection, visit our Expert Guide to HIV. Thanks again for your questions, and I wish you and your partner the best of health.

Eric Christoff, MD, AAHIVM

Dr. Christoff is a practicing physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. His areas of expertise include the treatment of HIV and syphilis along with other STDs, the medical treatment of depression and chronic fatigue, and the specific health needs of gay and lesbian patients. Dr. Christoff was educated at the University of Toledo, College of Medicine and completed his residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

Related Q&A's