IMPORTANT NOTICE: These “Fast Facts” are presented from a fister’s point of view only. They are not intended to be medical advice or to serve as a substitute for the advice of a competent medical doctor. Please use these facts and the links to other resources as a springboard for your own research into these important issues. The information that follows is not at all inclusive, or the only viewpoint available. You should familiarize yourself with the risks associated with these conditions, means of transmission, and methods for prevention and make your own informed decisions regarding acceptable means for protecting yourself and your health.


HIV is transmitted when blood or semen from an infected person comes into contact with the blood of an uninfected person. Unlike Hepatitis C, HIV is a very fragile virus and once exposed to air (and many other things) dies very quickly. There are still risks of HIV infection among fisters. The most common routes are:

  • Colon-to-hand (and vice versa) through small cuts, tears or scratches in the colon or hands.
  • Sharing lube among bottoms.
  • Unprotected fucking and fisting.


  • Always wear gloves. If you are not wearing gloves, make sure your fingernails have been clipped short and filed smooth. Make sure you don’t have any small cuts on your hands (including hangnails) and arms. You can do this by liberally applying hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol on your hands and arms before play. If you get a stinging sensation, glove up. As there is a possibility of transmission even with gloves, if you have any large or recent cuts, we suggest you postpone play until they are sufficiently healed.
  • Don’t share lube among bottoms. Every bottom should have his own container which is clearly marked with his name on the container (not on the lid). As fragile as HIV is, it can live in lube long enough to be transmitted to others.
  • Don’t fist and fuck in the same scene. Even if you’re using gloves and condoms it is not good practice. It is kind of like playing Russian roulette with a completely loaded gun. Most of us don’t have crisco-friendly rubbers lying around, and even if you do–which ones are they?? In the heat of the moment it is not always easy to tell–or to remember. Latex condoms break down quickly. You probably can’t fist someone without causing some internal abrasians and a little bleeding, so why tempt fate by adding semen to the mix. We all know that fucking is the most common means of transmitting the virus. So don’t do it.

There are so many resources that I won’t attempt to list them all here, but an excellent starting point is the Stop AIDS Project and Project Inform.