Are you romantically involved with an HIV-positive partner? Are you well-aware of the risks of sexual intercourse, but not so clear on whether or not digital stimulation could expose you to the virus? If so, read on to find out.
A Small But Real Risk
HIV travels from person to person only through blood, semen, rectal and vaginal fluids, and breast milk. It does not travel through the air, and it cannot be passed from one person to the other by saliva, sweat, or teardrops. In order to contract HIV through digital stimulation, a non-HIV-carrying individual would have to have direct exposure to the body fluids of their HIV-positive partner.
The sharp nature of fingernails could, indeed, scratch the vaginal or rectal wall of the receiving-partner during stimulation. If, in conjunction with this, the partner who is doing the stimulating has broken skin or blood, semen, or rectal or vaginal fluid on their fingers at the time of the encounter, then yes, there is a risk of the non-HIV-carrying partner becoming infected. It should be noted, however, that there are fewer than one dozen cases of HIV being transmitted via broken skin in all recorded medical literature.
While it is unlikely that you will contract HIV through digital stimulation, it is possible. Here's how to keep yourself safe.
- Wash Hands First. Any person performing digital stimulation on another individual should wash their hands thoroughly before the act. This will ensure that any body fluids that may have made their way onto the skin during foreplay are removed, and it also provides a change examine the hands and fingers to ensure there are no open cuts, scratches, or sores.
- Practice Nail Maintenance. Long or jagged fingernails can increase the risk of the receiver sustaining scratches or cuts during digital stimulation, thus increasing the risk for HIV to travel from the infected partner to the non-infected partner. Before you engage in sexual activity, make sure your nails are clipped short and filed smooth. Be careful, though; you don't want to cut them so short that you nick your skin.
- Invest In Some Finger Cots. Finger cots are latex condoms for your fingers. They come in different sizes, and cover the entire finger from tip to base, thus covering up any broken skin that might be present and reducing the risk of contracting or transmitting HIV. You can find finger cots at your local drug store; be sure to get a package specifically labeled "medical strength".
While the risk of contracting HIV through digital stimulation is low, there is a risk. If you plan to engage in the activity with somebody who is HIV-positive, practice the safety measures above, and visit an STD clinic regularly to be tested. People who have been infected with HIV respond more favorably to treatment when it is administered soon after contracting the virus.