How to Protect Yourself from HIV During Sex

Hot girl summer is here – and it’s especially welcome this year, as the world opens up following COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

If you’re ready to get out and mingle, be sure you’re doing it safely. There are so many ways to protect yourself from HIV and other STDs during sex

  • You can’t get HIV from sexual activities that don’t involve contact with body fluids, like semen, vaginal fluid or blood. Choose sex that is less risky than anal or vaginal sex, like oral sex. Learn more about how HIV is – and isn’t – transmitted.
  • Use condoms correctly and every time you have sex. Learn more about how to use condoms correctly.
  • Use water-based or silicone-based lubricants to prevent condoms from breaking or slipping during sex.
  • Take PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), which is a medicine that people at risk for HIV take to prevent HIV. It’s highly effective at preventing HIV from sex when taken correctly. Find out if PrEP is right for you.
  • You can choose to not have sex. You can be abstinent at any time in your life, and for different reasons, that may change over time. Not having sex is a 100% effective way to make sure you won’t get HIV through sex, and it prevents other STDs and pregnancy.
  • Get tested! 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. Find a testing site near you in Memphis.
  • If your partner has HIV, encourage them to get and stay in treatment. 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.
  • If you have possibly been exposed to HIV, you can take PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent HIV. This medication should only be used in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after exposure. Learn more about PEP.

There are other ways to get HIV that aren’t related to sex, like injection drug use. Visit the CDC’s website to learn more about preventing HIV.

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