safe sex : Gay & Black Glossary

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safesex safe sex
any form of sex with low risk of AIDs transmission, such as oral or masturbation. Anal sex using condoms is sometimes called safer sex since condoms can break or slip off. I have written a letter to the ministers of health on improved HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) education.


Safe sex is any form of sex with low risk of AIDs transmission, such as oral or masturbation. Anal sex using condoms is sometimes called safer sex since condoms can break or slip off.

Basic Principles of Safe Sex

It is fairly easy to estimate the risk for HIV+ (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus Positive (infected)) transmission of any activity if you keep in mind the following:

HIV Risk Ranking

Here is the HIV risk roughly highest to lowest.
HIV Risk
roughly highest to lowest
Activity Risk Category Risk From
Risk From
Risk From
Risk From
1 needle sharing. high risk 0.4% 4% 33% 98%
2 being anally screwed without a condom, allowing ejaculation. 0.3% 3% 26% 95%
3 being anally screwed without a condom, allowing precum only.
4 being vaginally screwed without a condom. 0.2% 2% 18% 86%
5 anally screwing without a condom.
more dangerous for uncircumcised males.
0.06% 0.6% 6% 45%
6 vaginally screwing without a condom.
7 sharing toys without cleaning or using a condom.
8 being anally screwed with a condom. safe (optimistic) 0.045% 0.5% 5% 36%
9 anally screwing with a condom.
10 being vaginally screwed with a female condom.
11 being vaginally screwed with a traditional male condom. 0.024% 0.2% 2% 21%
12 vaginally screwing with a traditional male condom.
13 vaginally screwing with a traditional male condom.
14 giving a blow job. safe (standard)
15 fisting without a glove
16 rimming.
17 giving a blow job with a condom.
Don’t use lubricated condoms for this. They taste terrible!
There are flavoured condoms specially for the purpose.
safe (conservative)
18 fisting with a glove
19 rimming with a dental dam.
20 getting a blow job.
21 getting a blow job with a condom.
22 getting fisted with a glove
23 getting fisted without a glove
24 getting rimmed.
25 getting rimmed with a dental dam.
26 kissing.
27 water sports. safe (paranoid) 0% 0% 0% 0%
28 mutual masturbation. 0% 0% 0% 0%
29 massage. no risk 0% 0% 0% 0%
30 sharing drinking glasses or cutlery. 0% 0% 0% 0%

Assessing Risk

Take the risk estimates with a grain of salt. I took the most pessimistic ones from the literature. These are estimates for the average person. Your risk may be higher or lower depending on how strong your natural immune system is, your general health, your sanitary habits, how rough you are in sex, how long your sex acts last, etc.

To put the risks in perspective, the probability of being killed in a single motor cycle trip is about 0.0038%. Unprotected sex is about a hundred times more dangerous.

The key thing to learn from the probabilities is you may get away with having unsafe sex a few times and not get infected, but that does not mean you will be safe if you keep doing it. Repetition pretty well guarantees infection.

The figures in the table presume something called mathematical independence. The odds of getting infected on your next encounter are independent of what happened on all the previous ones. It is the same principle that you still have 50:50 odds of hitting tails on your next throw no matter how long a string of heads you have thrown previously.

There’s another theory, called multiple insults, meaning that the risk of HIV infection could be cumulative. In short, the theory goes that the body can deal with some infection, but can eventually become overwhelmed and unable to fight off further infections. By that theory, the true figures for risk would be lower for single exposures than I have shown and higher for multiple exposures, especially within a short time period. In other words, if you keep tempting fate, you will almost certainly be nailed.

Also consider that I personally was infected with a single encounter of unsafe sex. The odds of that are only 0.3%, however, it was a glorious all nighter. Perhaps it counts as 10 encounters at 3%. You might be similarly unlucky.

My list concerns only the risk of HIV infection for the given action. Rimming for example is very risky for parasites or hepatitis even if relatively low risk for HIV. Fisting is high risk for physical injury.

With fisting there is fairly high risk the fistee will sustain a bleeding injury, but the fister is unlikely to sustain injury. However, I think fisting’s unsafe reputation is due mainly to the fact it often combined with bareback anal sex.

All the other lists I have seen don’t try to distinguish the danger to the active and passive partner. My list attempts to make those distinctions from first principles and anecdotal data. It is not backed by any scientific experiments. It would be very difficult to perform such experiments in an ethical way.

Instead of a handful of cases a year in the UK of HIV being transmitted through oral sex, they are seeing 30 to 50. This means oral sex is more risky than previously thought. Here are three possible explanations for this change:

  1. People are now more informed about what constitutes risky behaviour and are now more likely to lie about their anal sex or other risky behaviours.
  2. There is a new strain of HIV that passes more easily orally.
  3. Other STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) such as gonorrhea are infecting the throat and making it more susceptible to HIV.


Unfortunately even 100% abstinence will not keep you 100% safe. You can contract HIV the following ways:

Relying On Others

Don’t rely on others to warn you they are infected. Only one in 100 HIV+ people will tell you the truth even if you ask. I discovered this when I debated the issue at a Body Positive support group. Most people consider their HIV status to be a highly private matter. This is doubly true in anonymous sex situations such as sex in steam baths, parks and bars.

It is possible to be infected without it showing up on a test until up to six months later, so someone can honestly believe they are HIV- (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus Negative (virus free)) when they are not. It is both pointless and rude to ask your partner if he is clean. See the story of how I almost infected my lover Shannon because an HIV test did not immediately reveal my infection.

The majority of HIV+ people feel an obligation to refrain from unsafe safe sex with strangers, but a sizeable percentage believe it is up to each person individually to protect themselves. If someone is having unsafe sex with strangers, they must already be HIV+ or they plan to be soon.

The study on infection rates in young U.S. gays was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control at gay bars and other meeting places in several cities. They interviewed 5,719 men under age 30 then drew their blood. 573 of the men tested positive and 440 of them didn’t know they were positive. Most, in fact, thought they were negative and at low-risk for HIV infection. 91% of the blacks who were positive didn’t know it, 70%of the Latinos and 60% of the whites.

The bottom line is, you must presume all your partners are infected and act accordingly to protect yourself. I repeat: you must treat all partners as if they were HIV+. If you don’t, you will soon join their ranks. HIV+ people look just like everyone else. You can’t make exceptions. Even if your partner had sex with only one other person besides you since 1980, that other person could have slept with thousands.

The Canadian supreme court ruled it an aggravated assault to have sex with someone without revealing your HIV+ status or even if you only suspect you might be HIV+. However, revealing in casual encounters is extremely rare. It is just too embarassing and potentially dangerous to reveal the information to strangers who may react rudely or violently. It is wishful thinking to imagine others will protect you from AIDs. This law has the unfortunate effect of providing motivation for not getting tested. The other downside is it may create a false sense of security that you can trust others to warn you of any risk. In practice others will not reveal HIV+ status to avoid awkwardness or cannot reveal their status because they don’t know or don’t want to know themselves.

Pick A Level and Stick To It

It is best to pick your comfortable level of precaution that you can live with then stick to it 100%. It is pointless to wrap yourself in saran wrap for every massage, then once a year bust loose in frustration and have bareback anal sex gangbang, as did a young Anglican minister I once picked up in a park after giving him a safe sex lecture.

Most people see it this way. If you have safe sex, your partner’s HIV status is none of your business. If you have unsafe sex, clearly you are already HIV+ or are working hard on attaining that status soon.

Most gays choose the safety level (8) optimistic of screwing with condoms or (14) standard oral sex only. That eliminates most of the risk. A few use condoms for oral sex (17) conservative. I know of only one person who contracted HIV by giving blow jobs. He had gonorrhea at the time which made his throat raw and susceptible to invasion. Married gays fooling around on the side might eliminate all forms of oral sex to completely eliminate risk (27) paranoid.

Because of HIV cocktails reducing infection rates (they often reduce the HIV levels in the blood to undetectably low levels) and reducing the death penalty for HIV infection and because unsafe sex is so much more pleasurable than safe sex, many gays are no longer bothering with any safer sex guidelines. They risk all at level (2) barebacking. A disturbing trend is the deliberate passing and receiving of HIV voluntarily and ritualistically called gifting. These people foolishly imagine there is something romantic, communal, daring or uninhibited about HIV. They imagine it will reduce their anxiety to finally have the Damocletian sword drop.

I picked up my own HIV infection with a single unsafe encounter (a delightful all-nighter in the summer of 1985 doing nearly everything at level (2) and below) with a well-hung, well-muscled black guy who looked healthy as a proverbial horse. It is not like baseball.It is one strike and you are out. There are no warnings, no second chances, no matter how much you beg. I never contracted any STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) before in my life. Click here for the details of my personal HIV story.

Getting Tested

In the USA and Canada you can get anonymous HIV tests free. The problem is the people who don’t need them get them every few weeks and the people who do, never test. Get a test if any of the following apply: If your test comes out negative, it will set your mind at ease. If your test comes out postive, it will let you be more carfeful about passing it on, more careful about boosting your immune system and will make you eliigible for free HIV drugs.

Sword of Damocles  HIV in 2008 is still a PITA (Pain In The Ass)

The picture shows the Sword of Damocles dangling above young Damocles by a slender thread. This is metaphor for what it is like having HIV on your tail 24 hours a day forever.

HIV is a PITA. Even though modern drugs can keep you alive, you have to eat handfuls of very expensive pills every day. They don’t work at all for a quarter of the people. They upset your stomach. Many make you throw up or give you nightmares. Some give you extreme diarrhoea. There is nothing more humiliating than soiling yourself in public. Some make your limbs go numb. Some make fat accumulate on your paunch and your arms and legs to turn into skinny little sticks. You are a literal leper in many eyes. There are people who will run from the room in terror on discovering they have drunk from a glass you washed. You never have quite the same energy you had formerly.

HIV drugs just keep you alive. They don’t let you live anything close to a normal life. They don’t even work at all for 25% of people. All those great plans you had for the rest of your life will likely never be.

You have to put up with these side effects or die.

To get a tiny foretaste of what life will be like after you get HIV, drink a glass of salt water 3 times a day and keep doing it for a week.

You are generally prey to all sorts of infections and parasites you would normally slough off. Even minor things like toenail fungus or yeast in your mouth can have a field day.

It completely cuts off the possibility of fatherhood, even through artificial insemination. Darwin would consider this the ultimate penalty.

You are never again completely well. You dare not travel least some infection lay you low. You don’t have the energy for any interesting life projects. Even when you feel ok, at a moments notice suddenly you are sick as a dog again. It is always something going wrong with your health. It is as bit like being prematurely elderly. Your life becomes a struggle just to stay alive. There is little energy left for all your grand life plans.

The final stages of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) are not pretty. Your hair may fall out. You may have dementia and spill all your deepest secret thoughts to people who will recoil in horror. You may be covered in sores. You may look like a Auschwitz concentration camp inmate. You will be irritable and in pain and with endless nausea. There is the great fear you will be left to die alone somewhere because no one can stand to be with you. You may drag on and on and on, two weak to do anything to put yourself out of your own misery. Not only do you have to put up with your final days, you have to put up with the years of dread of your end.

Some people have been deliberately letting themselves be infected with HIV. They can’t stand the frustration of protected sex. They imagine life will be so fun and sexy with HIV. Hah! The pleasure of unprotected sex lasts but a moment, the pain of unprotected sex lasts your whole life long. I assure you, you don’t want it. Almost any degree of frustration is worth avoiding HIV.

If you must have unprotected sex, get it in a monogamous relationship.

Mathematical Notes

Most people will want to skip this section, but for the curious, here are the basic formulas used in massaging raw data from various sources.

If s is the probability (a fraction between 0 and 1) of being infected in a single encounter, then the formula to calculate the probability p of being infected in n encounters is:

p = 1 - (( 1 - s )n)
If the probability of being infected in one encounter is s, then how many encounters n do you need to reach a probability risk of r (e.g. 0.5 for 50/50 odds) for infection?
      ln ( 1 - r )
n = ------------
      ln ( 1 - p )
If the probability of being infected in n encounters is p, then what is the risk s of being infected in a single encounter?
s = 1 - exp ( ln ( 1 - p) / n )
e.g. if you have 50/50 odds of surviving a motorcycle trip once a day for 50 years, what are the odds of being killed in a single trip? 0.0038%

The safe sex literature tends to be very sloppy, saying thing like X brand condoms reduce risk by 97%. However, that is meaningless unless they specify over how many encounters. Reducing risk in one encounter by 97% is roughly the same as reducing risk in 1000 encounters by only 88%.


If you get HIV, you need to take a cocktail of 3 or 4 HIV drugs. If you miss even one dose in 10 your chances of dying are significantly higher. Why is this?

There are several strains of HIV. The wild strain is especially virulent and easy to catch. Happily it is not immune to any of the HIV drugs. When you take drugs, the wild strain is brought under control, but it continues percolating along in the background. If you miss a dose, it flares up and starts reproducing like mad. It mutates rapidly. Eventually it will mutate into one of the strains resistant to one of your drugs. That strain will then take over from the wild one. These mutated drug-resistant strains are not as virulent. You are unlikely to get them from others or pass them to others. The way you get them is by missing doses. Eventually you develop strains immune to your entire cocktail. Your viral load sky rockets. You get very sick. Then you must find a new cocktail. Unfortunately, the strains will likely be cross-resistant to many other drugs since the drugs use similar mechanisms. The drugs are heavy duty. You may find you can hold down only a few of the candidates, especially in your weakened condition. If there are no drugs left that your strains are not immune to and that you can hold down, it is curtains.

I repeat. It is a matter of life and death never to miss a dose of your HIV medications.

You have to be especially careful when anything interrupts your normal routine, e.g. travel, Christmas or flu. It helps to use backups: alarm clocks and others to help remind you.

Safety Net

If you get HIV, it is possible with modern drugs to continue working until normal retirement age, but what do you do if you get too sick to work or too sick to look after yourself? If your own savings or other resources fail, in Canada there are various safety nets. If one does not catch you, the succeeding one may.
  1. Friends & Family

    Friends and family are your best help for short term sickness. Even if you get behind in your MSP (Medical Services Plan) payments, you will still get medical treatment, even if you don’t apply for relief. You need to stay in touch. It is easy to get so sick that you are physically or psychologically unable to call for help. Avoid crying wolf. Dealing with you is much more emotionally wearing on others than you might imagine. They may have to abandon you if you become too demanding or taxing.
  2. Federal Disability

    If that safety net fails, you can apply for a federal CPP (C++) (Canada Pension Plan) disability pension. This requires your doctor to fill out an enormous set of forms. Unfortunately, the cost of this is not covered by universal medical insurance. Some doctors may charge a fee of up to $100.00 CAD . The feds usually turn people down on their first application. This means, if you think you may need help in future, it might be wise to apply before you are absolutely desperate. On the other hand, the fact that you did survive without help would be evidence you don’t need help. Catch-22. The benefit is something in the order of $800.00 CAD per month.
  3. Welfare

    If the CPP application fails, you can apply for welfare with the provincial government. This is for the generally indigent, not the disabled. Case workers tend to be disdainful of all their clients. They have workers whose entire job is to make sure no one on welfare earns extra cash picking up pop bottles and cans without reporting it so the income can be deducted from their welfare cheques — in a strange disincentive for the able-bodied to work and to promote litter. Oddly the government spend almost nothing detecting and prosecuting white collar frauds over $10,000.00 CAD . The benefit is something in the order of $500.00 CAD per month. How people live on this I don’t know. Even the tiniest crummiest apartment is $350.00 CAD per month. I guess they must share cramped space. If you are not too sick, you could travel to a food bank to get groceries.
  4. Provincial Disability

    Only after you successfully get on welfare, can you then apply for a provincial disability pension. You may need the help of an AIDS advocacy group with your application. The federal pension is considered more reliable. At least in BC, the polictical and religious right don’t particularly like HIV people and like to make arbitrary changes to the benefit rules to discriminate against the HIV+ whenever they can get away with it. Cutting disability benefits and tightening disability criteria is politically popular with the right wing Campbell Liberals in power in BC. The benefit is something in the order of $700.00 CAD per month.
  5. Top Up

    Only after you successfully got on a federal or provincial disability pension, can can you apply for a top up extra money no deal with your particular disability. Is common for HIV people to get a nutrition allowance for vitamin supplements and extra food (one advantage of HIV is you lose weight eating normal quantities of food because your digestive tract does not function efficiently.) You would be mad though to catch HIV deliberately as a dieting techique.
  6. Meals On Wheels

    If you get too sick to cook for yourself, you can ask for help from private charities such as Meals On Wheels to bring you complete meals that need only to be heated in a microwave.
  7. Assisted Living

    When you get to the stage you need someone to feed and bathe you, custom plans come into play. Home care workers come at ever increasing frequency. You may go live in an assisted living group home. You may go to a hospice or hospital to die. Euthanasia is technically illegal in Canada, but is available if you don’t wait until the last minute to arrange it. Be discreet, or no one will tell you anything. It is still technically considered murder.
HIV virus copyright Russell Kightley
HIV virus
copyright Russell Kightley
There is great stigma associated with using any of these social services. I have never used any of the government services personally, though I have accepted help from friends and family. I once went without food and heat in my uninsulated cabin in the woods rather than ask for help. Americans and the religious and political right hold people reduced to asking for help in greater contempt than they hold criminals. People can be so cruel. It is tough enough having HIV without dealing with taunts of being a deadbeat parasite who has no right to life in addition to the usual HIV taunts of deliberately spreading HIV, molesting children and deliberately infecting yourself in the first place.

The Politics of AIDS

HIV has never been exactly a poster child disease. Fundamentalist Christians believe that AIDS is God’s punishment on homosexuals and have gone out of their way to stop it from being treated and prevented. Similarly black Africans are not popular with racists and closet racists. Americans have done everything they could to encourage the spread of HIV in Africa.

Techniques used include: zilch in aid, interfering with condom education and suing to block production of cheap AIDS drugs.

However, the malfeasance goes deeper than that. Vaccines were contaminated with HIV and used throughought Africa.

I find it amusing that people who enjoy condemning those with HIV as wicked, irresponsible or even suicidal have had unprotected sex themselves hundreds if not thousands of times. All it takes is once, possibly with a spouse. Many women contracted it through rape. Most children contracted it as a side effect of being born to an HIV+ mother.

The HIV virus depicted to the right is not smart enough to evaluate the moral worthiness according to Catholic church doctrine in selecting its victims and precisely which genders or what is involved in the sex act it is exploiting. It has no eyes, ears or other sense organs. It is as mindless as a burr.

The Solution

The hope for a vaccine is remote since HIV mutates so rapidly. A cure is still years off. The key to stopping HIV, is to test everyone and treat everyone who is infected. With knowledge of infection and with reduced viral load from treatment, the infected people are less likely to spread the infection to others. This has to be a global effort, otherwise you leave a pocket of infection to reinfect the rest of the planet. The other key is factual education (not worse-than-useless celibacy-only religious indoctrination) so everyone knows the risks of unprotected sex, no matter what your race, age or sexual orientation.


book cover recommend book⇒Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola: Nature, Accident or Intentional?to book home
by Leonard G. Horowitz, D.M.D., W. John Martin 978-0-923550-12-7 hardcover
birth 1952-06-20 age:65
publisher Tetrahedron
published 1996-04
Horowitz (public health author) presents thoroughly researched information in his exploration into the origins of the HIV and Ebola viruses. His bias toward the theory that HIV was introduced into the general population by vaccine experiments conducted in New York City and Africa, is apparent. He generalizes from this thesis that the AIDS epidemic may have been deliberately deployed as a genocide tactic as part of the CIA foreign policy activity in Central Africa.
Australian flag abe books anz abe Canadian flag
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There is abundant evidence that HIV itself was originally created by American genetic engineering and spread deliberately to homosexuals and black Africans.
book cover recommend book⇒State Origin: The Evidence of the Laboratory Birth of AIDSto book home
by Boyd Graves 978-0-9707735-1-7 paperback
publisher Zygote
published 2001-06-01 The creation, production and proliferation of AIDS is the ultimate assault on a social fabric woven in democracy. Here, Boyd Ed Graves shares some of the court documents and correspondence in response to the world’s most deadly ethnic cleansing experiment. His 1999 Flow Chart discovery has been authenticated by medical and scientific doctors around the world. The critical insights now being unlocked by the thirty year old secret U.S. AIDS Flow Chart, have firmly established the genocide blue print as the greatest document find of the century. The shocking conclusions of Dr. Graves’ research has resulted in the landmark case seeking Global AIDS Apology. Boyd E. Graves vs. The President of the United States, et al. United States Supreme Court Case No. 00-9587.
Australian flag abe books anz abe Canadian flag
German flag abe Canadian flag
German flag Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag Chapters Indigo eBooks Canadian flag
Spanish flag abe American flag
French flag abe American flag
French flag Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe Nook at Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag Kobo American flag
India flag Google play American flag
UK flag abe O’Reilly Safari American flag
UK flag Powells American flag
UN flag other stores
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.

The Poster

There is a safe sex poster than shows two men, one lying face down and another on top of him.

The top man is thinking He just let me come inside him. He must be HIV+.

The bottom man is thinking He just came inside of me. He must be HIV-.

high tech condom
HIV Education an open letter to the ministries of health
My personal HIV story

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