4 steps

We can take to help prevent HIV

know

how HIV spreads

Understand

the chance of getting HIV from different sexual activities

get

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

Talk

to a healthcare provider about all the ways to prevent HIV

En Español


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. Some of the ways this can happen are through:

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

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. And always use condoms. Here are some tips on how and when to use them during different sexual activities.

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, a healthcare provider can help you understand how 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). Some STIs 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

Highest
Risk

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

High
RISK

Insertive anal sex (topping)

Medium
Risk

Receptive vaginal sex

Insertive vaginal sex

Extremely 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)

Small amounts of blood spread during deep kissing or oral sex—extremely rare

No Risk

Activities without body fluid contact

Nonsexual massage

Casual or dry kissing

Phone sex, cyber sex

Touching

Masturbation

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
prevention

If you do have HIV, starting and sticking to treatment can help get your viral load so low, it can't be measured by a test. So low it's undetectable.

Sticking to treatment and staying undetectable is a big deal. According to current research, it basically eliminates the chance of transmitting HIV through sex. Talk to a healthcare provider. Because HIV is still
in your body. And being
undetectable doesn't prevent
other sexually transmitted
infections. So stick to treatment, use condoms, and practice safer sex.

Emergency HIV
prevention

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.
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

what's next?

These resources can help you
stop the virus.

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