PreventionBy Mayo Clinic Staff
There's no vaccine to prevent HIV infection and no cure for AIDS. But it's possible to protect yourself and others from infection. That means educating yourself about HIV and avoiding any behavior that allows HIV-infected fluids — blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk — into your body.
To help prevent the spread of HIV:
July 21, 2015
Use a new condom every time you have sex. If you don't know the HIV status of your partner, use a new condom every time you have anal or vaginal sex. Women can use a female condom.
Use only water-based lubricants. Oil-based lubricants can weaken condoms and cause them to break. During oral sex use a nonlubricated, cut-open condom or a dental dam — a piece of medical-grade latex.
Consider the drug Truvada. Use of the combination drug emtricitabine-tenofovir (Truvada) can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV infection in those who are at high risk. Truvada is also used as an HIV treatment along with other medications.
When used to help prevent HIV infection, Truvada is only appropriate if your doctor is certain you don't already have an HIV infection. Your doctor should also test for hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B, your doctor should test your kidney function before prescribing Truvada.
Truvada must be taken daily, exactly as prescribed. Truvada should only be used along with other prevention strategies, such as condom use every time you have sex, as it doesn't protect against other sexually transmitted infections, and it can't provide complete protection against HIV transmission. If you're interested in Truvada, talk with your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of the drug.
- Tell your sexual partners if you have HIV. It's important to tell anyone with whom you've had sex that you're HIV-positive. Your partners need to be tested and to receive medical care if they have the virus. They also need to know their HIV status so that they don't infect others.
- Use a clean needle. If you use a needle to inject drugs, make sure it's sterile and don't share it. Take advantage of needle-exchange programs in your community and consider seeking help for your drug use.
- If you're pregnant, get medical care right away. If you're HIV-positive, you may pass the infection to your baby. But if you receive treatment during pregnancy, you can cut your baby's risk significantly.
- Consider male circumcision. There's evidence that male circumcision can help reduce a man's risk of acquiring HIV.
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