Prevention Pointers for People With HIV: How to Avoid Passing Your Virus to Someone Else

Winter 2011

  • The easiest ways to pass HIV to someone else are in blood or sexual fluids.
  • Having sex without a condom or sharing drug-injection works can infect a partner with your HIV.
  • If you inject drugs, you can stop with a drug-substitution program (for example, with methadone).
  • If you continue to inject drugs, always use clean injecting equipment and never share injecting equipment with partners.
  • Always use a condom during anal or vaginal sex.
  • Use enough lubrication with a condom to avoid causing minor cuts in your partner's anus or vagina.
  • Don't rely on a sex partner to tell you accurately (or truthfully) if he or she has HIV.
  • Using drugs or alcohol before sex raises the chance you will forget to use a condom or won't bother to use one.
  • If you haven't started antiretroviral therapy, consider starting as a way to limit chances you will infect a partner.
  • If you're taking antiretrovirals, take your drugs as directed to make sure you reach and maintain an undetectable viral load.
  • If you reach an undetectable viral load, your virus may become detectable again if you miss antiretroviral doses or get another sexually transmitted infection.
  • Tell your HIV provider immediately if you have signs of a sexually transmitted infection, such as genital sores.
  • Don't donate blood, plasma, tissue, organs, or semen because they can transmit HIV.
  • Don't share toothbrushes, razors, douche equipment, or sex toys.

Pointers based primarily on US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. Guide for HIV/AIDS Clinical Care. January 2011.

This article was provided by The Center for AIDS Information & Advocacy. It is a part of the publication Research Initiative/Treatment Action!. Visit CFA's website to find out more about their activities and publications.

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