Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions
What’s my HIV risk if we’re both virgins?
I had sex with my girlfriend and didn’t use a condom. I didn’t penetrate deep into her vagina. She and I have not had sex with anyone before and I don’t have any symptoms. Could I still be infected with HIV?
Eric Christoff, MD, AAHIVM on September 26, 2011
I understand your concern. Allow me to help you with some information about your risk for HIV and STDs…
First, if you are both truly virgins, your risk for HIV is low. However, the risk may be higher if either of you participated in other sexual activity previously. For example, did you know that HIV can also be spread through oral sex, sharing needles and sometimes deep kissing?
How do people get HIV? HIV is spread when infected blood or sexual fluids enter the body through a cut, a sore or a mucosal surface (like the inside of the vagina, the inside of the anus, or the opening of the urethra at the tip of the penis)
So, even if you didn’t penetrate your girlfriend’s vagina very deeply, the tip of your penis was exposed to her vaginal fluids…which carries a chance of getting HIV if she is infected.
Now that you’re sexually active, it’s time to think about having safer sex, and regular STD testing. Using a condom for intercourse and a condom or dental dam for oral sex every time can go a long way to protecting you from STDs. Using a condom can also help protect against unintended pregnancy, as can other birth control methods like the Pill.
If you or your girlfriend have any risk factors for HIV and you’re worried that you’re infected, get tested. Getting tested is the only way to know if one of you has an STD. Some common STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and C, herpes 1 and 2, HIV and syphilis.
Thanks again for your important questions. I’m glad you’re taking charge of your sexual health, and I hope that you’ll continue to do so. Along the way, you can get more detailed information about HIV and STD prevention, in our Expert Guides.
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.