The Goddess gave us latex and the brains to use it. Please, don't celebrate the rising tide of life energy this Spring by risking the gift of life She gave you. Ninety-five percent of people who contract HIV get AIDS. So far, 100% of people who get AIDS die.
Your actual risk of contracting HIV during unprotected intercourse depends on a lot of factors, including your baseline level of health, the prevalence of HIV infection in the area you are in, and the type of activity you engage in. The first, only you can estimate. The second is information that should be available from local public health agencies. The third, I can give you some information on.
The basic principles underlying the riskiness of different sexual activities are simple. HIV is transmitted in body fluids only. The more fluid is transferred, the greater the risk. The higher the concentration of the virus in the body fluid involved, the greater the risk. The more permeable the skin surface that the infected fluid comes into contact with, the higher the risk.
Receptive intercourse is more risky than insertive. This means if someone is ejaculating into your vagina or rectum, you are at a much higher risk than they...this makes sense, because you are the one receiving the fluid. If the individual pulls out before ejaculation, the risk may be reduced, but HIV is present in pre-ejaculatory fluid as well as semen; it isn't known yet how well the virus in pre-ejaculate can be transmitted. The rougher your activity, the more bruising or risk of small tears to the mucosa, the greater the risk of virus transmission; for this reason, receptive anal intercourse is a greater risk than receptive vaginal intercourse.
However, 20% of HIV+ women have been found to have the virus in their vaginal fluids. Blood in either the vagina or rectum increases the risk of transmission to the insertive partner, so he is also at substantial risk if no protection is used in either vaginal and anal intercourse.
You can reduce the risk of this activity dramatically by using a latex condom. One study says that "condoms used properly" can reduce the risk of transmission between monogamous partners to 2%. Another study says condoms reduced transmission to 31%. I haven't read these studies, but the only difference in the wording of their summaries was the term "used properly." It does seem reasonable to assume that condoms used properly will reduce your risk better than condoms that are allowed to slip, break, or leak.
So here are a few points to remember. Use a new condom each time. Store condoms out of sunlight in a cool dry place to prevent deterioration. As health care products, condoms are carefully examined before packaging, but they cannot be guaranteed intact after the expiry date; be aware of this date and discard if they are outdated. Handle condoms carefully...nails, teeth, or other rough handling can puncture them. Apply only once the penis is fully erect. Make sure there is no air trapped in the tip of the device. Use a lubricating product if natural lubrication is scarce; friction can cause condoms to split. Use ONLY WATER BASED LUBRICANTS. Oil based lubricants can destroy the latex and make it permeable. So use KY jelly or glycerine...do NOT use mineral oil, cooking oil, massage oil or lotions. Use only latex condoms; "natural membrane condoms" have pores that small enough to prevent passage of sperm but allow passage of viruses. Do not allow the penis to shrink excessively before pulling out and removing the condom; it is likely to slip off if you do.
Figures from studies of condom breakage or slippage range from 2-7%; increase your chances of successful use by following the above guidelines. One study found that inexperienced users had more mishaps than experienced users; I'm not telling you to have more sex (the Cyberpatrol folks wouldn't like that), but I am telling you that if you are inexperienced, use extra care or perhaps find another activity if you don't know the status of your partner. Also there is much more chance of accidents if drugs or alcohol are part of the picture.
A word on the status of partners. You can't afford to make assumptions. Even if you think you know a person well, if s/he has had sex with even one other of unknown status, any time in the last 5-7 years, you cannot assume s/he hasn't been exposed to the virus, no matter how nice s/he seems. Lots of nice people get HIV; that's one of the tragedies of it. You can get it the first time you have intercourse; even virgins can acquire it through blood transfusions or needles. Many people do not know they carry the virus; it takes a lot of courage to go for this test, and many people do not want to consider the possibility that they might have been exposed. While it is true that the concentration of the virus in blood is higher in the advanced stages of the disease, it is also high at the time of "seroconversion" (the time when the virus can first be detected in blood), and at this time many people don't yet know they have it.
So, what are the risks of some other sexual activities? HIV has been found to be present in the saliva of 25% of positive people, but substances called glycoproteins in saliva seem to make the virus particles clump together, so they are less likely to be transmitted than in blood or semen. Giving fellatio (oral sex for a man) without a condom is considered medium risk; if there is a large volume of ejaculate deep in the throat, transmission can occur. Receiving fellatio is considered a much lower risk. Giving cunnilingus without a barrier is considered a medium risk, and the risk increases if the woman is menstruating. Receiving cunnilingus is considered a low risk. The risk is greater in all types of oral sex if there are sores in the mouth or on the lips. Giving or receiving oral sex using a condom or, for women, a latex barrier similar to a dental dam (or even Saran Wrap in a pinch), is considered a very low risk.
Using the hand or fingers within the vagina or rectum is considered a medium risk if there are open cuts or rashes. It becomes a low risk if the skin is intact, and a very low risk if latex gloves are used. Other activities that offer a very low risk include using sex toys if they are disinfected between use, intercourse between the thighs, oral sex on a man without taking the head of the penis into the mouth, and deep kissing.
And at the last a bit of good news. There is no risk involved in hugging, dry kissing, massage, rubbing through clothes, self-masturbation together, sharing fantasies, unshared sex toys, or sharing a hot tub, bath, or sauna.
A good source for more information about the transmission of HIV can be found here.
How you wish to celebrate this time of joy in nature's fertility is up to you. All acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals, and there can be a substantial exchange of affection and pleasure in the no and low risk activities I've listed. In a time when the population of the world is growing, many of us acknowledge that fertility can be of the mind, hands, or heart rather than childbearing. But it can also be a time to take full joy in all the pleasures our bodies are capable of. Whatever you choose to do, please take a few precautions to ensure its aftermath is as wonderful as the interlude itself.
Show your gratitude for the life She gave you by protecting it well.