HIV: How To Protect Yourself
Be smart about HIV. Here’s what you can do to reduce your risk of infection:
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Get the facts — Arm yourself with basic information: Are you at risk? How is HIV spread? How can you protect yourself?
Take control — You have the facts; now protect yourself and your loved ones. There are three essential ways to
reduce your risk:
1. Don’t have sex (i.e., anal, vaginal or oral)
2. Only have sex (i.e., anal, vaginal or oral) if you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner you
know is not infected.
3. Use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal or oral sex. (Correct and consistent use of the male latex condom is highly effective in reducing HIV transmission).
4. Put yourself to the test — Knowing your HIV status is a critical step toward stopping HIV transmission, because if you know you are infected, you can take steps to protect your partners. Also, if you are infected, the sooner you find out, the sooner you can receive life-extending treatment.
In fact, CDC recommends that all adults and adolescents be tested for HIV. Because other STDs can play a role in the acquisition of HIV, knowing whether you are infected with either is critical in reducing your risk for infection.
Call 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit www.hivtest.org to find HIV and STD testing locations near you.
Start talking — Talk to everyone you know about HIV — friends and family, coworkers and neighbors, at work and at places of worship. Have ongoing and open discussions with your partners about HIV testing and risk behaviors. Talking openly about HIV can reduce the stigma that keeps to many from seeking the testing, prevention and treatment services, and support they need.
HIV doesn’t have to become part of your life. Each of us can and must be part of the solution.
Visit www.cdc.gov/actagainstaids for more information about HIV and what you can do to stop HIV.