Things you SHOULD do

  • Abstain from sex. The surest way to avoid transmission of STDs, including a different strain of HIV, is to not have sexual intercourse.
  • Use condoms correctly and consistently.Correct and consistent use of the male latex condom can reduce the risk for STD transmission. However, no protective method is 100% effective. Condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD.
    • If you are allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
    • Condoms lubricated with spermicides are no more effective than other lubricated condoms in protecting against the transmission of HIV and other STDs.
    • If you use condoms incorrectly, they can slip off or break, which reduces their protective effects. Inconsistent use, such as not using condoms with every act of intercourse, can lead to STD transmission because transmission can occur with just one act of intercourse.
  • Use protection during oral sex. A condom or dental dam (a square piece of latex used by dentists) can be used. Do not reuse these items.
  • Tell others that you have HIV.
    • Tell people you’ve had sex with. This can be difficult, but they need to know so they can get the help they need. Your local public health department may help you find these people and tell them they have been exposed to HIV. If they have HIV, this may help them get care and avoid spreading HIV to others.
    • Tell people you are planning on having sex with. Practicing safe sex will help protect your health and that of your partners.
    • If you are a man and had sex with a woman who became pregnant, you need to tell the woman that you have HIV, even if you are not the father of the baby. If she has HIV, she needs to get early medical care for her own health and her baby’s health.

Things you should NOT do

  • Don’t share sex toys. Keep sex toys for your own use only.
  • Don’t share drug needles or drug works. Use a needle exchange program if one is available. Seek help if you inject drugs. You can fight HIV much better if you don’t have a drug habit.
  • Don’t donate blood, plasma, or organs.
  • Don’t share razors or toothbrushes. HIV can be spread through fresh blood on such items.