Check out these specific HIV prevention tips and facts for you.
Women who have sex with women, gay women and bisexual women
As a woman who has sex with women (WSW), you may not always identify yourself as a lesbian, or bisexual.
Many WSW had their first sexual experience with a man, have had multiple experiences with men, or still have sex with men.1
Is HIV a risk for lesbians?
HIV transmission is a risk between women.2
The risk is lower than sex involving a man because less bodily fluids are exchanged between women.
Access regular sexual health check a ups for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV testing, to minimise the risk of HIV.3
Safe sex for women who have sex with women
- Sex is considered safe when none of your partner’s bodily fluids (vaginal secretions, breast milk or blood e.g. menstruation) enter your body.
- Ensure you partner’s fluids do not enter your vagina, mouth or any cuts you have.4
- Wash your hands before and after sex.
- Use plenty of lube for fingering or fisting, especially for the anus.
- Use latex gloves, especially if you have a cut or sore on your hands.5
Safe oral sex (risk of HIV is minimal)
- Avoid oral sex if you or your partner has cuts or sores in or around the mouth, or if the receiving partner is menstruating.
- Use a dental dam, or a condom cut open between the vagina/anus and mouth to prevent STI or HIV transmission.6
Safe sex toys
- Wash sex toys before and after use and between partners.
- Use a new condom every time sex toys are shared.7
- Use sex toys carefully to prevent drawing blood.
Know your rights
You have the right to:
- refuse sex
- have sex with women
- practice safer sex.
- 1. Sexually Transmitted Infections Journal, accessed via BMJ (2003) ‘Sexual behaviour of lesbians and bisexual women’
- 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014) 'Likely Female-to-Female Sexual Transmission of HIV — Texas, 2012'
- 3. NHS Choices (2014) 'Sexual health for lesbian and bisexual women’
- 4. The Lesbian and Gay Foundation (accessed 2014) ‘Women and HIV’
- 5. NHS Choices (accessed 2013) ‘Sexual health for lesbian and bisexual women’. Last review date: 17/07/2014, Next review date: 17/07/2016
- 6. Mayo Clinic (accessed 2013) ‘Women’s Health – Health issues for lesbians – prevention first’
- 7. NHS Choices (accessed 2013) ‘Are sex toys safe?’. Last review date: 19/10/2012, Next review date: 21/10/2015