4 steps

We can take to prevent HIV


how HIV spreads


the chance of getting HIV from different sexual activities


tested. Ask your partners about their test results. And tell them about yours


to a healthcare provider about all the ways to prevent HIV

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How HIV Spreads

HIV is found in blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), vaginal fluid, rectal fluid, and breast milk. HIV spreads when one of these fluids from a person who has HIV enters the body of a person who does not. This can happen through:

  • Anal, oral, or vaginal sex
  • Small amounts of blood that spread during
    deep kissing or oral sex
  • Needles, syringes, or other injection equipment
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding

Protect Yourself and the People
You Care About

Start by getting tested. And take these steps.

Sexual activity:

Try talking to your partners about HIV first. Ask whether they have been tested and what the results were. Use condoms correctly whenever you have sex.

Injection drug use:

Never share needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment.

Breastfeeding and Pregnancy:

Do not breastfeed if you have HIV. The virus can be passed to your baby through breast milk. If you are pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she can tell you other ways to prevent passing HIV to your baby.


Let's Talk About sex

Want the Truth?

According to the CDC, about 90% of new HIV infections result from sexual activity.

That is why it is important to know your chances of getting HIV from different activities. Then you can make informed choices about protecting yourself.

The fact is, HIV is most often spread during
sex. The activities with the highest risk for HIV infection are:

  1. Receptive anal sex (bottoming)
  2. Insertive anal sex (topping)
  3. Receptive vaginal sex
  4. Insertive vaginal sex
Learn about the risks of different sexual activities

You should also know that other factors can increase your chance of getting HIV:

  • Having unprotected sex
  • Having many sex partners
  • Injection drug use
  • Sexually transmitted infections. STIs such as syphilis and gonorrhea make it easier for HIV to infect you

A helpful list from the U.S. DHHS:

Know the risk of getting HIV from different

Sexual Activities


Receptive anal sex (bottoming) carries the most risk for getting HIV of any sexual activity.


Insertive anal sex (topping)

Receptive vaginal sex


Insertive vaginal sex

Low Risk

Receiving oral sex if you are a man or a woman

Performing oral sex on a man or a woman

Oral-anal contact (rimming)

No Risk

Activities without body fluid contact

Nonsexual massage

Casual or dry kissing

Phone sex, cyber sex



Sex toys (not shared)

What is a
Sexual Network?

HIV risk from your sexual network

Let's say you have sex with one person.
That person has sex with other people.
They have sex with other people.
And so on.

This is called a sexual network.
It shows how people are linked by sex.

Fewer partners = Lower risk

When you have fewer partners, you
have a smaller sexual network. And
a lower chance of contact with
someone who has HIV.

Know your status

You can't know the status of everyone in your network. But there is one person's status you can always know: Yours. That is why regular testing is so important.

HIV treatment also helps
stop the virus

Treatment as

If you do have HIV, staying on treatment can help lower your viral load to undetectable.

An undetectable viral load helps lower the chance of passing HIV on to your partner during sex by more than 90%. This is called Treatment as Prevention, or TasP. TasP is not 100% effective. So keep using condoms
and practice safer sex to protect
yourself and the people you care
about. Talk to your healthcare
provider if you have questions.

Emergency HIV

If you do not have HIV, you should know about post-exposure prophylaxis. PEP for short. It involves taking medicine after contact with HIV.
Treatment must begin within 72 hours. PEP is only available from a healthcare provider, emergency room, urgent care clinic, or HIV clinic.
Treatment must begin within 72 hours of contact with HIV. It is not 100% effective. And follow-up
HIV testing is required. If you think you have
been exposed to HIV, you must see a
healthcare provider or go to a clinic
or emergency room right away.

HIV treatment & prevention

It's All About You

There are now more ways than ever to protect yourself and help stop the virus. Talk to a healthcare provider about all the ways you can prevent HIV infection.

Stay up to date.

what's next?

These resources can help you
stop the virus.

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