How can I prevent getting HIV from sex?

What does an HIV diagnosis mean?
March 18, 2021

How can I prevent getting HIV from sex?

Choose Sexual Activities With Little to No Risk

  • Choose sex that is less risky than anal or vaginal sex. There is little to no risk of getting HIV through oral sex.
  • You can’t get HIV from sexual activities that don’t involve contact with body fluids (semen, vaginal fluid, or blood).
  • Learn more about how HIV is and is not transmitted.

Use Condoms the Right Way Every Time You Have Sex

  • Condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), like gonorrhea and chlamydia.
  • Use water-based or silicone-based lubricants to help prevent condoms from breaking or slipping during sex.
  • Learn the right way to use an external condom(sometimes called a male condom) and an internal condom (sometimes called a female condom).

Take PrEP

  • PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent HIV.
  • If taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV from sex.
  • PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken as prescribed.
  • Find out if PrEP is right for you.

Decide Not to Have Sex

  • Not having sex (also known as being abstinent) is a 100% effective way to make sure you won’t get HIV through sex.
  • You can be abstinent at different times in your life for different reasons that may change over time.
  • Not having sex also prevents other STDs and pregnancy.

Get Tested and Treated for Other STDs

  • If you have another STD, you are more likely to get HIV. Getting tested and treated for other STDs can lower your chances of getting HIV.
  • Many people with an STD may not know they have one because they don’t have symptoms.
  • Find a testing site near you.

If Your Partner Has HIV, Encourage Your Partner to Get and Stay in Treatment

  • This is the most important thing your partner can do to stay healthy.
  • If your partner takes HIV medicine and gets and keeps an undetectable viral load, there is effectively no risk of you getting HIV from sex with your partner.
  • Learn more about the benefits of HIV treatment as prevention.