In the United States, the chances of a man acquiring HIV infection through unprotected sex with HIV-positive women are low. Statistics show the risk of infection to be around 1 in 1000 exposures. This figure is subject to various other factors, however. For example, the risk might be higher if the intercourse occurs during the woman's menstrual period. There is also a greater risk of HIV infection through vaginal intercourse for uncircumcised men. Similarly, if the female partner is taking HIV medication or if the male partner is taking PrEP regularly, the risk might be even lower.
RISK STATISTICS FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF INTERCOURSE
The risk for men getting infected with HIV after unprotected sex with a woman depends on several factors. The first and foremost being the HIV status of the female partner. There is no risk if the female partner is HIV-negative. Therefore, talking to your partner about their HIV status might clear a lot of things beforehand.
Statistics show that different types of sex between men and HIV-positive women carry different risks of infection for the male partners. One such study found the risk of HIV infection for men through insertive vaginal intercourse to be 0.04%. This figure means that there would be 1 case of HIV infection after unprotected vaginal intercourse with a woman in 2500 exposed men.
The same study also found that the risk for women acquiring HIV infections through heterosexual intercourse was 0.08% (about 1 in 1250 exposures), slightly higher than men in the same situation. These results show that men, in general, are at a lower risk of acquiring HIV after unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman.
However, note here that these numbers, albeit low, might be slightly misleading. Although the risk for men in such situations was shown to be 1 in 2500 exposures, it does not mean that the HIV infection requires 2500 separate exposures to occur. These values represent a statistical chance of acquiring the virus. Men can still acquire HIV after unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman after a single exposure. Furthermore, this statistical chance of acquiring the virus is highly dependent on several external factors.
FACTORS THAT INCREASE THE RISK OF HIV INFECTION
Factors that increase HIV after unprotected sex with women include both female and male factors. Whether or not the female partner was taking HIV medication regularly can influence the risk by a great deal. The risk also goes up if the intercourse took place during the menstrual period of the female partner. Similarly, uncircumcised men have a higher risk of HIV infection from both heterosexual and homosexual intercourse. However, the risk goes down significantly if the male partner was taking PrEP medication regularly.
Other factors that increase the risk for HIV infection include:
- Sharing needles
- Having an STD
- Multiple sex partners
- Having a partner with multiple sex partners
- Anal sex