safe sexual relationships
can people protect themselves from HIV during sex?
There are several ways in which people can protect themselves
from sexual transmission of the HIV virus:
can abstain from sex altogether;
people who are not infected with HIV can remain absolutely
faithful to one another, and never have sex with other
polygamous family is also safe as long as all the
wives and the husband are HIV free and have sex only
with each other;
can give each other sexual pleasure in ways that do
not involve penetration of the penis into the vagina,
anus or mouth. Even if one partner is infected there
will be no risk of passing on the virus.
can protect themselves from HIV by always using a
good quality condom during sex that involves penetration.
VERY HIGH RISK:
person who has unprotected sex with someone, even
only one person, is most at risk because it is not
possible to know whether a person has the HIV virus
just by looking at them or talking to them. They may
appear very healthy and seem very sensible but still
are many sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhoea,
syphilis or ciamydia. If they are left untreated they
can damage the sex organs, making it much more likely
that the infected person will get HIV. Eventually these
diseases can cause much pain and lead to infertility.
Most sexually transmitted diseases can be completely
cured. If anyone thinks that he or she has been at risk
of catching one, or has symptoms such as painful urination,
a discharge, smell, a rash or sores on their sex organs,
the person should go at once to a doctor or health worker
for a checkup and treatment.
reporter Bola Olufunwa discusses the problems
women face in negotiating safe sexual relationships.
reporter Ruth Evans reports from Tanzania
on a programme designed to treat STDs and prevent
the spread of HIV.
The audio used in this site was originally
broadcast on BBC World Service radio as part of the
series Surviving AIDs produced by the BBC's African