Safe Sex and Adolescence

Safe sex is a term coined in the midst of the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s, defined as behaviors that pose no risk for HIV transmission, meaning that sex partners do not exchange blood, semen, or vaginal secretions. Only behaviors that do not include penetration (anal, vaginal, or oral) can be considered safe. Such safe activities may include kissing, hugging, massage, and self-masturbation. Technically, however, if there is certainty that neither partner is infected, then any behavior is safe, since HIV transmission would be impossible. Because safe sex is not considered to be a practical lifelong choice for adults, safe sex prevention messages are primarily aimed at adolescents, with the hope of getting them to abstain from sexual intercourse (of all types), at least until ...

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