HIV stands for the English abbreviation “Human Immunodeficiency Virus”. An infection with the HI virus damages or destroys certain cells of the immune system and makes the body susceptible to illnesses that are usually unproblematic in uninfected people. Left untreated, HIV infection can lead to AIDS. AIDS stands for “Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome” and means “acquired immune deficiency syndrome”. People with AIDS often develop pneumonia and fungal infections. AIDS was first diagnosed in 1981.

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Contagion / Transmission

HIV can be transmitted when bodily fluids such as blood or semen that contain enough HI viruses get on mucous membranes, wounds or directly into the blood. The most common way HIV is passed on is through unsafe sex. Men who have sex with men have a particularly high risk of becoming infected. HIV is still prevalent in this population and there is an increased likelihood of having sex with an HIV-positive partner who is not yet taking HIV medication. In everyday life, on the other hand, HIV tends not to be transmitted. There are other modes of transmission such as blood transfusions, sharing syringes when using drugs, but these are not as relevant to this report.

The bodily fluids that may contain HIV in contagious amounts are,

  • Blood
  • Sperm
  • Liquid film on the mucous membrane of the rectum

There is an extremely low risk of infection when blowing. It would only be possible if semen or blood with a large amount of virus is ingested and the oral mucosa is injured. The difference here is that it is significantly more resistant to HIV than other mucous membranes.

HIV cannot be transmitted during oral sex even through pre-cum.

Other diseases, including other sexually transmitted diseases, increase the risk of HIV (e.g. chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea). Inflamed mucous membranes make it easier for HIV to get in and out of the body. In addition, immune cells that absorb HIV directly and pass it on to other cells also migrate to the inflamed areas.

The risk of HIV transmission is increased when there are particularly many viruses in the blood and body fluids. This is the case, for example, in the first few weeks after an HIV infection, because the virus then multiplies particularly quickly.

The risk is much lower when there are only a few viruses in the blood, such as when HIV drugs stop the virus from multiplying.

HIV medication suppresses the multiplication of the HI virus in the body to such an extent that after a while the virus can no longer be detected using the usual methods: the amount of the HI virus (“viral load”) is below the so-called detection limit. HIV can then no longer be transmitted during sex.

But even if the viral load is not below the detection limit, not every unprotected sex between an HIV-positive and an HIV-negative partner automatically leads to transmission. The risk of infection increases if you do not use any of the three safer sex methods.



If flu symptoms suddenly appear a few days or a few weeks after an HIV risk contact (e.g. unprotected anal sex), or you get a rash on your back, stomach or chest, or the lymph nodes swell, these could be signs of a fresh HIV infection. be infection.

Here are some symptoms that may indicate a recent HIV infection:

  • Fever for several days
  • Sluggishness
  • Head, joint and muscle pain
  • Rash on the back, chest or abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • heavy night sweats
  • sore tonsils, swollen lymph nodes
  • mouth sores

Important: Such symptoms do not always occur or are not always noticed, and they usually do not all appear together. These symptoms can also indicate other diseases. If symptoms of any kind persist for a long time, you should definitely consult a doctor. If left untreated, serious illnesses can occur that can eventually lead to death.

Shortly after an infection with HIV, the virus temporarily multiplies particularly rapidly in the body. The amount of virus is then very high in the mucous membranes and body fluids involved in sex between men (mucous membranes on the penis, in the rectum, blood and semen). As a result, the risk of HIV transmission during unprotected sex is particularly high.


Protection / Prevention / Safer Sex

Safer Sex 3.0: In addition to the condom, there are now other safer sex methods of protection against HIV, namely PrEP and protection through therapy. Of course, you can also use several methods.

  • Condoms

This is probably the best-known safer sex method. The condom not only reduces the risk of contracting HIV, but also offers protection against other sexually transmitted diseases. This is also clearly regulated in the area of prostitution: § 32 Condom obligation; advertising ban. (1) Customers of prostitutes and prostitutes must ensure that condoms are used during sexual intercourse.

  • PrEP

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and means prevention of risk exposure. But this is only possible if you are HIV-negative. With this protection method, a special HIV drug is taken either daily or around sexual contact. This method is scientifically proven and protects gay men just as well as condoms. However, this only applies if the medication is used according to certain rules and regular checks are carried out. For more detailed information, please contact a doctor or an AIDS counseling service!

Important: We keep getting inquiries about bareback sex (without a condom) or whether the guys are on PreP. On the one hand, we refer in this context to the condom obligation, which continues to exist despite other protective measures. On the other hand, many people obviously have the misconception that PrEP offers protection against any kind of sexually transmitted diseases. This is absolutely wrong. PreP only protects against infection with the HIV virus. Most other sexually transmitted diseases are much easier to transmit than HIV, especially through unprotected sex, and here the condom clearly reduces the risk of infection.

  • Protection through therapy

HIV medication suppresses the replication of HIV in the body. HIV can then be transmitted during sex with more. If you are HIV-positive and take your HIV medication regularly, the therapy also protects your sex partner from infection. In people living with HIV, regular use of antiretroviral drugs causes the amount of virus in the blood to be very low, making HIV undetectable and untransmittable (n = n: not detectable = not transmissible). Most people living with HIV who are on treatment can live with the virus for a long time without developing AIDS. In order to prevent the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections, the use of condoms is still useful in many situations.

We consider comprehensive protection – independent of the legal regulation – to be absolutely important. It should always be remembered that HIV infection is not curable and requires lifelong medication. There is also no vaccine against HIV yet. Perhaps one should ask oneself whether the brief moment of sexual horniness is worth these lifelong limitations.



If there is an “accident” during sex, for example due to a burst condom, there is the option of undergoing PEP treatment. This is called post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP for short. This roughly means “precaution after contact with HIV”. Important: PEP must be started as soon as possible after the HIV risk. Preferably within two hours, otherwise if possible within 24 hours, at the latest after 48 hours. This treatment is only recommended when the risk of HIV transmission is reasonable in relation to the potential side effects of the medication to be used. So you should never be careless about using condoms during sex. Any treatment with drugs can also have negative effects on the human body.


HIV test

Soon after infection, the immune system recognizes the HI virus as an invader and counteracts it with the body’s own defense cells and antibodies. The antibodies can be detected by an HIV test. This is how it can be determined whether someone is HIV-infected, i.e. HIV-positive. An HIV test is usually an antibody screening test. That means he looks for antibodies against HIV in the blood, which can be detected with a laboratory test no later than six weeks after infection, with a rapid test no later than twelve weeks. However, if a fresh infection is suspected, a test procedure that directly detects the virus or virus components can also be used beforehand.

You can prove with certainty that you are not infected, i.e. HIV-negative, after six weeks with a laboratory test, and after three months with a rapid test.

An HIV test makes sense if a risk situation has existed and an HIV infection cannot be ruled out. Many health authorities offer anonymous and free HIV tests in Germany. You can also be tested for HIV by doctors and some AIDS organizations. Since September 2018, CE-marked HIV self-tests can be bought in pharmacies and online, for example. These tests can only be performed 12 weeks after a possible risk of infection. If the result is reactive, a confirmatory test should be performed by a doctor. Only then is there a reliable HIV diagnosis.


We hope that this report has given you a brief overview of the HIV virus. This report does not claim to be complete and does not represent medical advice. If you have any questions, please contact a doctor or a specialist advice center, such as the AIDS-Hilfe.