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A lesbian couple at an AIDS vigil in 1985 on New York’s Christopher Street. Lesbians have been very deeply involved in every aspect of the AIDS epidemic in part because of their participation in the larger lesbian and gay community and their close ties to gay men with AIDS.

The efficiency of viral transmission through oral-vaginal contact, or cunnilingus, and manual-digital sex (“fingering”) is unclear, although it is known that both infected vaginal secretions and menstrual blood can transmit HIV. Cunnilingus is believed to be one of the most common and most favored sexual behaviors among lesbian sexual partners; therefore, it is possible that lesbians are at risk of being infected because of this practice. Until further conclusive research is conducted, however, the degree of risk for female-to-female transmission of HIV remains unknown.