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What is the risk for HIV in women who have sex with women?

There have been documented cases of HIV transmission between women who have sex with women, but the total number of women is still uncertain and the mode of transmission has not yet been clarified. The most common mode of HIV transmission in women is through unprotected penile sex, but women who participate in injectable drug use, trade sex for money or other benefits, share unprotected sex toys, or in rare cases, have blood transfusions may also be at risk despite their sexual preferences.

The CDC lacks specific statistics on women who have sex with women, likely because of these confounding risks. For example, in 2004 the CDC documented 7,381 out of 246,461 cases of women who were diagnosed with HIV, and only 534 of these women stated they had sex with only women, approximately 0.2%. Nonetheless, 91% of these women also admitted to IV drug use. Overall, despite the lack of specific statistics, it can be safely assessed that the risk of transmission of HIV from women having sex with women is less than that for other modes of transmission such as penile sex or injectable drug use.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.