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FAQ: Chances of getting HIV from unprotected sex?

for Veterans and the Public

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the chances of a man being infected with HIV after unprotected sex with a woman?

In general, the risk of a man getting HIV from a woman during vaginal intercourse in the United States is low--probably less than 1 of 1,000 exposures will result in actual infection. This risk may be higher depending on certain factors, such as whether the woman is having her period, and it also may be higher in poor countries. It may be lower if the woman is taking effective anti-HIV medications.

Of course, there is no risk of getting HIV from a woman unless she has HIV, so it's good to talk about this with any potential sex partner. After all, she may have the same thoughts or concerns about whether YOU have HIV, but also might not bring up the subject. And since it's often hard to be sure, especially if you don't know someone very well, remember that using a condom can greatly reduce the risk of spreading or getting HIV and other diseases, and can be a good way to show that you care about your partner.

An even better way might be to get to know your partner really well before having sex, which makes it easier to talk about HIV and pretty much everything else.