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How can I prevent HIV?

Protect yourself from infection.

The primary ways to contact HIV/AIDS is through unprotected sex with a person who is infected and using a needle that has been used by an individual with HIV/AIDS.

Sexual Contact

  • Abstaining from sex with others is the surest method to preventing HIV infection through sexual transmission.
  • Having sex with one HIV-negative partner who only has sex with you is the next surest method to preventing infectio
  • When used consistently and correctly, latex condoms used with silicon or water-based lubrication or polyurethane condoms used with silicon, oil or water-based lubrications are extremely effective at reducing the risk of HIV transmission. (Note: recent studies have shown that water-based lubrications may facilitate transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections during sex without condoms. Until more conclusive study is done, silicone-based lube is recommended for use with latex or polyurethane condoms. Oil-based lube is okay to use with polyurethane condoms. Do not use oil-based lube with latex condoms).
  • Touching, dry kissing, body rubbing and mutual masturbation are some examples of sexual activities that are extremely safe.
  • When acquiring a new sex partner, abstain or use condoms for three months (or three months from your last HIV test or potential exposure to HIV) and then get tested for HIV. If both partners are HIV-negative and not engaging in other risk behaviors (e.g., sharing needles or having other sex partners), you do not have to worry about HIV infection.
Injection Drug Use
  • Abstaining from injection drug use is the most effective way to prevent HIV transmission through drug use.
  • If you are injecting drugs, use a brand new syringe every time you inject.
  • If new syringes are unavailable, properly bleaching a used syringe may effectively reduce HIV transmission.
  • Do not share drug injection equipment (including cookers, cottons, and water used for mixing/bleaching) with others.

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Information courtesy Public Health – Seattle & King County.