How Can I Prevent Getting or Spreading HIV?
There are many ways you can protect yourself from HIV. The surest way is to abstain from sexual intercourse and from sharing needles and "works" if you use steroids, hormones, or other drugs.
Many people have been infected with HIV by sharing needles. If you are using needles for steroids, hormones, or other drugs
- Never share needles.
- Get into a needle-exchange program.
- Be sure to disinfect the needles you use.
Don't share personal items that may have blood on them. This includes toothbrushes, razors, needles for piercing or tattooing, and blades for cutting or scarring.
If you choose to have sex, have safer sex to reduce the risk of exchanging blood, semen, or vaginal fluids with your sex partner(s).
Safer Sex and HIV
Some kinds of sex play are "safer" because they have lower risk of infection than others. "Safer-sex" activities are those we choose to lower our risk of exchanging blood, semen, or vaginal fluids — the body fluids most likely to spread HIV. Each of us must decide what risks we will take for sexual pleasure.
Here are some common sexual behaviors grouped according to risk.
VERY LOW RISK — No reported HIV infections due to these behaviors
- fantasy, cyber sex, or phone sex
- using clean sex toys
- masturbation or mutual masturbation
- manual stimulation of one another
- touching or massage
- fondling or body rubbing
- oral sex on a man with a condom
- oral sex on a woman with a Glyde dam or plastic wrap
LOW RISK — Very few reported HIV infections due to these behaviors
- deep kissing that causes bleeding
- vaginal intercourse with a condom or female condom
- anal intercourse with a condom or female condom
- oral sex
(Try not to get semen, vaginal fluids, or blood into the mouth or on broken skin.)
HIGH RISK — Millions of reported HIV infections due to these behaviors
- vaginal intercourse without a condom
- anal intercourse without a condom
Talk with your health care provider about testing and treatment for STDs. Women and men with open sores from herpes and other infections get HIV more easily than other people.