This section covers sexual health issues that go beyond HIV prevention, including the prevention and treatment of other sexually transmitted infections, contraception, sexual problems and relationship issues.

Sexual health: latest news

Sexual health resources

  • How to use condoms and lubricant

    Using condoms correctly will prevent them breaking, leaking or slipping off during sex.Use only water-based or silicone lubricants, not oil-based. If you lose your erection...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Female condoms for anal sex

    Female condoms are also known as internal condoms, and can be used for both vaginal and anal sex. As they provide a physical barrier, they are likely to...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)

    PEP involves taking a 28-day course of anti-HIV drugs, after possible exposure to HIV.Doctors will assess your risk of HIV infection before prescribing PEP.PEP is available from...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Transmission facts

    HIV can only be passed on when one person's body fluids get inside another person. HIV can be passed on during sex without a condom,...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Undetectable viral load and HIV transmission

    Effective HIV treatment stops HIV from being passed on during sex.If you have had an undetectable viral load for at least six months and you...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Undetectable viral load and transmission – a factsheet for HIV-negative people

    People with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot pass HIV on.This is what is meant by the slogan 'Undetectable equals Untransmittable' ('U=U').Not everyone...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Undetectable viral load and transmission – a factsheet for people with HIV

    Effective HIV treatment reduces the amount of HIV in your body fluids.Once the amount of HIV in your body fluids is reduced to an ‘undetectable’ level, you cannot...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • NGU and NSU – non-gonococcal and non-specific urethritis

    NGU and NSU can be caused by several STIs.NGU/NSU is diagnosed by a swab test and/or checking a urine sample.NGU and NSU are treated with...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Condoms

    Condoms protect against HIV, other sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.Both female and male condoms are available.It’s important to follow the advice on how to use...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Oral sex

    Many people enjoy giving and receiving oral sex – kissing, licking or sucking another person’s genitals.The risk of getting HIV from performing oral sex on...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Herpes

    Herpes is transmitted by contact with skin where the herpes simplex virus is present. It causes painful blisters on the genital and surrounding areas.Antiviral treatments...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Shigella

    Shigella is a serious gut infection causing severe, prolonged diarrhoea and stomach cramps. It is transmitted by contact with very small amounts of human faeces....

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Pubic lice and scabies

    Pubic lice and scabies are easily treated.Your GP or staff at a sexual health clinic can diagnose pubic lice or scabies.Pubic lice and scabies are...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • LGV (lymphogranuloma venereum)

    LGV is a form of chlamydia. Tests for chlamydia also detect LGV.Most LGV cases are in gay men living with HIV. It is often diagnosed...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Chlamydia

    Chlamydia can be transmitted via infected semen or vaginal fluids.Using a condom during sex is an effective way of preventing  chlamydia.Chlamydia is easily treated with...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Gonorrhoea

    Gonorrhoea can be passed on during anal, vaginal and oral sex.Using a condom during sex is an effective way of preventing gonorrhoea.Gonorrhoea is treated with...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) and genital warts

    HPV can be passed on during unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex. Vaccines against HPV are available.  Some strains of HPV can cause genital warts....

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Bacterial vaginosis

    Women may get bacterial vaginosis when the balance of normal bacteria in their vagina becomes disrupted.It is common and various activities seem to increase the...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Emergency contraception and unwanted pregnancy

    For women taking HIV treatment, the intrauterine device (IUD) is the recommended method of emergency contraception.Women taking some anti-HIV drugs need to take a double dose of...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Candidiasis (thrush)

    Candidiasis (thrush) is a common yeast infection, treated with anti-fungal drugs.Mild candidiasis in the mouth is relatively common in people with HIV.Good oral hygiene can reduce the...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Contraception

    Your choice of contraception will depend on your situation and preferences.There are possible interactions between some hormonal contraceptives and some anti-HIV drugs. Your HIV treatment needs to be...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Sexual health screening

    If you’re sexually active it is important to have regular tests for sexually transmitted infections. These tests are available free of charge from specialist sexual health or...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Health checks

    Staff at your HIV clinic use various tests to keep an eye on your health. Many of these tests are done on samples of your...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)

    PrEP is highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV. For PrEP to work well, it’s important to take the pills regularly.While PrEP can...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Sexual health check-ups

    Looking after your sexual health is important for anyone, but particularly so if you are living with HIV. If you are sexually active, it is important to have...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Sexual dysfunction

    ‘Sexual dysfunction’ includes loss of sexual desire, painful sex, and problems with erection or orgasm.Stress, health problems and heavy drinking can contribute to sexual dysfunction.Help is available...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Syphilis

    Syphilis is a common sexually transmitted infection that is usually easy to treat.Syphilis can progress more quickly and severely in people living with HIV.It can be contracted during...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Sexually transmitted infections

    This section contains a brief explanation of how common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed on, their symptoms and their treatment. STIs can be caused by bacteria, viruses...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV & sex

    This booklet provides information on sexual health for people with HIV. ...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV and having a baby

    Women living with HIV can give birth without passing on HIV to the baby.Your options for conception will depend on your health and your partner’s...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV transmission

    The two main ways in which HIV is passed on are unprotected vaginal and anal sex.Condoms, PrEP and HIV treatment are effective ways of preventing...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • PrEP

    This briefing paper provides an overview of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for people planning, commissioning or providing HIV prevention activities in the UK. It does this by reviewing...

    From: HIV prevention briefing papers

  • Sex and HIV

    Sex, desire and pleasure need not stop when you have an HIV diagnosis. Women continue to be sexually active and to have fulfilling sexual and emotional relationships. Many...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Your next steps

    A booklet with information for people who’ve just found out they have HIV. ...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Sex

    Having HIV can affect people’s feelings about sex in many different ways. Some people become anxious about passing HIV on, or feel less desirable. While some people go...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV & Pregnancy

    Personalised information about having a baby. (Smartphone version available.)...

    From: Resources

  • HIV & Contraception

    ...

    From: Resources

  • Preventing HIV

    An essential resource providing evidence-based information on preventing HIV infection. ...

    From: Aidsmap 2.0

    Information level Level 4
  • Sexual activities

    This section provides detail on the risk of transmission during specific sexual activities, and outlines the available evidence on ‘harm reduction’ strategies such as withdrawal...

    From: HIV transmission & testing

    Information level Level 4

Sexual health features

Sexual health in your own words

Sexual health news from aidsmap

More news

Sexual health news selected from other sources

  • Pipeline for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis

    A new report on the sexually transmitted infection (STI) treatment and prevention research “pipeline” points to serious gaps in the development of new tools to address a growing epidemic in the U.S. The report, released today by Treatment Action Group (TAG), provides an assessment of the current research pipeline and calls for a major new investment in STI research.

    20 March 2019 | TAG
  • Women Have High Syphilis Rates, Too

    For women in the general population, the incidence of syphilis is at a 20-year high. But for women with HIV — particularly those who inject drugs — the incidence is 330% higher than that, data from a long-term study show. The biggest indicators of syphilis in women are hepatitis C infection and injection drug use. This means that providers should tailor syphilis screening to women with indicators of injection drug use, particularly in regions of the country hardest hit by injection drug epidemics.

    11 March 2019 | Medscape (requires free registration)
  • Gonorrhoea: drug resistance compromises recommended treatment in Europe

    In 2017, 27 EU/EEA countries collected and tested 3 248 gonococcal isolates which revealed that cefixime and azithromycin resistance (1.9% and 7.5% respectively) remained unchanged compared to 2016 (2.1% and 7.5%). However, the number of countries reporting resistant isolates for each antimicrobial increased. For the second year in a row, no isolates with resistance to ceftriaxone were detected in contrast to one in 2015, five in 2014 and seven in 2013.

    28 February 2019 | ECDC
  • Low testosterone persists after HCV clearance

    Low levels of free testosterone are common among men with chronic hepatitis C infection following SVR and persist after HCV clearance, according to findings from a prospective, longitudinal cohort study.

    12 February 2019 | Healio
  • “Nothing feels better than being confident that you are healthy” – a young man’s experience of PrEP

    PrEP recently became available in Ukraine, and for Georgii Onyschuk, a 29-year-old marketing professional from Kyiv, it has become a normal part of life as a young gay man.

    30 January 2019 | World Health Organization
  • UK Gonorrhea Guideline Guards Against Antibiotic Resistance

    A new guideline on the management of gonorrhea has been issued by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV. The 2019 guideline introduced changes made to the 2011 guideline including: removing the recommendation for dual therapy with azithromycin, increasing the dose of ceftriaxone, recommending the use of ciprofloxacin in certain cases, and adding extra-genital testing in cases of known or suspected antimicrobial resistance.

    30 January 2019 | MD Magazine
  • The Condom King and his mission to combat Aids taboos

    Young Kenyans’ ignorance around sex is helping to fuel infection. One man thinks he may have found an answer. According to Africa’s King of Condoms this is why the young must be a focus of HIV prevention. Stanley Ngara, 45, says; "I say to them that what your teacher did not tell you, what your father did not tell you, what your uncle did not tell you, the King of Condoms will tell you."

    10 December 2018 | Evening Standard
  • Testing times: four emerging STIs that you can’t afford to ignore

    Although gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis grab most of the headlines, public health officials are warily watching the emergence of other bacterial sexually transmitted infections.

    06 December 2018 | Mosaic
  • Ageism And Sexuality

    Older people are often stereotyped as non-sexual beings who should not, cannot, and do not want to have sexual relationships. Ageism prevents us to respect all forms of intimacy and sexual orientation in later life. Time to break the taboos!

    05 November 2018 | Ageing Equal
  • Sexual Health, Reproductive Health & HIV Policy eBulletin - September 2018

    The September issue of the Sexual Health & HIV Policy E-bulletin is available to read online. This issue covers the announcement by the Department of Health and Social Care to allow women to take misoprostol at home in England; a new audit on cuts to contraceptive services; and an e-feature on sex education in schools.

    28 September 2018 | FSRH
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Our information levels explained

  • Short and simple introductions to key HIV topics, sometimes illustrated with pictures.
  • Expands on the previous level, but also written in easy-to-understand plain language.
  • More detailed information, likely to include medical and scientific language.
  • Detailed, comprehensive information, using medical and specialised language.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.