Protect Yourself

Protect Yourself

HIV PreventionThe only way to be 100% sure you won't get HIV/AIDS is to abstain from sex and intravenous drug use. If you're sexually active, using condoms correctly each and every time you have anal or vaginal sex provides the best protection against HIV transmission. While there is not enough scientific evidence available yet to be certain, there are many individuals who also state that they have gotten HIV from participating in oral sex (as givers to infected men). It is advisable to consider using condoms for oral sex as well, especially because other STDs like syphilis and gonorrhea, which can increase your risk of getting HIV, can be transmitted via oral sex.

How can I protect myself?

It is critical that Americans get educated learn their HIV status as well as that of their sex and injection drug use partners, and do their best to avoid risky behaviors. Condoms are a very effective means of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, and using clean needles to inject drugs also prevents transmission. Also, people living with HIV are much less likely to transmit it to anyone else if they are on effective medical treatment. The goal of all HIV “treatment as prevention” strategies is to reduce transmission by helping as many people living with HIV as possible to access treatment.

Although HIV treatment can be expensive, there are programs to help people without other resources access care, medications, and other support services. In order for people living with HIV to experience the full benefits of HIV treatment on their health and in preventing transmission of the virus, it is very important that they work closely with a care provider and take medications regularly. Skipping medications can prevent the realization of these benefits, and may make the virus more difficult to treat. Contact the Alameda County Offices of HIV Care and Prevention for more information and assistance accessing HIV care and services.

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