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Can you define negligible risk?


Sorry for my ignorance, but can you guys define what negligible risk mean. Is negligible risk better than low risk ( I know that no risk would be the best, but in this scenario can you tell me what better).

Thank you for having this helpline, it is very helpful/informational.


Hi there,

Thanks for using AIDS Vancouver as a source for your HIV-related questions.

Negligible risk means that the behaviour presents a potential for HIV transmission because it involves the bodily fluids that are able to transmit the HIV virus, but there has never been a reported case. This is because these activities do not provide a closed system, and do not have direct access between the HIV+ bodily fluid and the blood stream of the HIV- person.

Some examples of negligible risk include: receiving oral sex, fingering, vulva to vulva rubbing, docking and anilingus.

Negligible risk is better than low risk. Low risk refers to activities of which there have been a few reports of HIV transmission, but these are usually due to specific circumstances (like the breaking of a condom). Some examples of low risk activities include: tattooing with non-professional equipment, taking blood into the mouth, giving oral sex, or vaginal/anal intercourse with a condom.

You may also be interested to know that saliva is not one of the bodily fluids that can transmit the HIV virus. This is because saliva contains an enzyme that prohibits the growth of the virus. Therefore kissing, sharing food and other activities that involve saliva, do not put you at risk for HIV transmission.

I hope this helps to answer your questions. If you have any further inquires, feel free to write to us again, or call us on the helpline at 604-696-4666.

In Health, Chantelle AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer