How to Avoid Getting HIV - Entity doll
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a serious, life-long infection that can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) when left untreated. There are many myths about how HIV is transmitted, so do not assume that what you've heard is correct. Educate yourself before you inject drugs or have sex, even if you think it's safe or "not real sex."
Practicing Safer Sex
1Have sex with fewer, trusted partners. The fewer people you have sex with, the lower the chance that one of them has HIV. The lowest risk comes in a "closed" relationship where the people involved only have sex with each other. Even then, get tested and follow safe sex practices. There is always the chance that someone is unfaithful.
2Choose low-risk types of sex. These activities carry almost no risk of transmitting HIV, even if one person involved has the virus:
- Erotic massage
- Masturbation or hand jobs (hand-to-penis), without sharing bodily fluids
- Using sex toys on your partner, without sharing them. For added safety, put a new condom on the toy for each use, and wash thoroughly afterward.
- Finger-vagina or finger-anus contact. There is a chance of transmission if the finger has a cut or scrape. Increase safety with medical gloves and water-based lubricant.
3Practice safer oral sex. There is significant risk of infection if you perform oral sex on an HIV-positive person's penis. It is rare, but not impossible, to get HIV from someone using their mouth on your penis or vagina, or from performing oral sex on a vagina. Take these precautions to minimize this risk, and avoid other diseases:
- If a penis is involved, put a condom over it. Latex condoms are the most effective, followed by polyurethane. Do not use sheepskin condoms. Use flavored condoms if you need to improve the taste.
- If a vagina or anus is involved, hold a dental dam over it. If you don't have one, cut open a non-lubricated condom or use a natural rubber latex sheet.
- Don't allow someone to ejaculate into your mouth.
- Consider avoiding oral sex during menstruation.
- Avoid flossing or tooth-brushing before or after oral sex, as this may cause bleeding.
4Protect yourself during vaginal sex. Inserting a penis into a vagina causes a high risk of HIV transmission for both people involved, especially for the woman. Reduce this risk by using a condom or a latex female condom — but not both. Always use water-based lubricant to reduce the risk of the condom breaking.
- The outer ring of the female condom must remain around the penis and outside the vagina at all times.
- Other forms of contraception do not protect against HIV. Pulling out before ejaculation does not protect against HIV.
- It is possible but not certain that people who have undergone male-to-female reassignment surgery can contract HIV more easily.
5Be very cautious when practicing anal sex. Rectal tissue is highly sensitive to tearing and damage during intercourse. This makes the risk of transmission high for the person inserting a penis, and extremely high for the person receiving the penis. Consider other forms of sexual activity as described above. If you do perform anal sex, use latex condoms and plenty of water-based lubricant.
- Female condoms are probably effective during anal sex, but this has not been thoroughly studied. Some organizations recommend removing the inner ring, while others do not.
6Store and use a condom correctly. Review how to put on and take off a condom or female condom. Importantly, remember to pinch the tip before putting on a male condom, and grip the base closed when you remove it. Before you have sex, make sure the condom was treated properly:
- Never use oil-based lubricant with latex or polyisoprene condoms, which can break the condom.
- Use the condom before its expiration date.
- Store the condom at room temperature, and not in your wallet or other place where it may get damaged.
- Use a condom that fits snugly, but easily.
- Do not stretch the condom to examine it for tears.
7Avoid increased risk practices. No matter which type of sex you engage in, some practices make the risk of transmission higher. Be aware of these factors:
- Rough sex increases the odds of the condom tearing.
- Avoid spermicides that contain N-9 (nonoxynol-9). This can irritate the vagina and increase the chance of the condom tearing.
- Do not douche the vagina or rectum before sex. This can irritate the area or remove bacteria that help fight infection. If you need to clean the area, clean gently with a soapy finger and water instead.
8Avoid alcohol and drugs before sex. Substances that affect your mental state increase the odds of making a bad decision, such as having unprotected sex. Have sex only when sober, or make plans in advance to protect yourself.Ad