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05/26/2015 12:40 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

#AskTheHIVDoc Discusses HIV Risk Among Gay Men

If you're a gay man, there may be different levels of risk to contracting HIV based on the kind of sex that you have.

#AskTheHIVDoc is a new web series that aims to educate viewers and break down cultural stigma surrounding HIV. In this third video in the series, the doctor tackles the question: are there different levels of risk for gay men to contract HIV based on if they're the top or the bottom in a sexual encounter?

The short answer: yes. The HIV Doc explains further,

"HIV has to get into the blood stream to actually set up infection," the HIV Doc explains. "When you think about it anatomically, with someone who is a top, the skin of the penis being a bit tougher, you're not going to be able to get into the blood stream as quickly. When you look at the rectum and inside of the rectal tissue... it is actually a little bit more easily breakable. So sometimes when you're having anal sex and you're the bottom in the relationship, that can cause mild tears in the rectum... in those cases it's a more efficient risk of HIV."

Research has shown this to be true, with studies evidencing that the receptive partner is at the highest risk of contraction from an HIV positive partner.

Want to see more from the #AskTheHIVDoc web series? Head here.

(h/t The Gaily Grind)

Note: Just because receptive partners may be at more risk for HIV infection does not mean that penetrative partners are not at risk. As always, practicing safe sex is always a smart move for all parties.

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