HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and weakens the human immune system.
HIV can progress to become AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome), which weakens the body’s ability to fight infections.
HIV is not a death sentence. With proper care, people with HIV are living long and healthy lives.
HIV cannot be transmitted though saliva, sweat, tears, or casual contact.
Only five bodily fluids transmit the virus:
Anyone who is sexually active or injects drugs is at risk for HIV, but certain behaviors greatly increase that risk:
The only certain way to prevent HIV is abstinence from sex and injection drug use.
Use condoms. Condoms are 98% effective at preventing HIV when used correctly and stored properly. Don’t keep condoms in your wallet or car for more than a few hours.
Use lubrication. This reduces friction, which lowers the risk of a condom tearing during sex. Use water- or silicon-based lubricants.
Ask the right questions. “U clean?” encourages dishonesty and promotes stigma. Instead, ask when your partner was last tested, and what was the result was.
Get tested regularly. 9 of 10 new HIV infections are transmitted from people who think they are HIV negative.
Change how you have sex. Less frequent vaginal and anal sex, and more oral sex or other non-contact forms of intimacy can reduce the risk of HIV exposure.
Stay on your treatment plan. An HIV-positive person with undetectable levels is highly unlikely to transmit to the virus to their partner.
Ask your doctor about PrEP. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis is an option for people who do not have HIV but practice high-risk behavior.
PrEP is a single pill, taken daily. The medication interferes with HIV’s ability to copy itself in the human body after exposure, preventing it from establishing an infection.