Prevention for Positives

If you are HIV positive, you can take the following steps to reduce your risk of transmitting HIV to your partner. If your partner is also HIV positive, you should still minimize your HIV transmission risk. You may have a different strain of HIV than your partner, and passing it on could result in greater health risks or medication resistance.

Get in Medical Care and Take Your Meds

In Arizona, more than 40% of people who are HIV positive are not receiving medical care. This is often because they aren’t aware of assistance programs that provide free or low-cost care.

If you're HIV positive, getting medical care, taking your medications, and being virally suppressed (undetectable) can reduce your risk of passing HIV on to others to less than 10%. If you also use condoms during sex, you will reduce your risk of transmission to less than 2%.

Taking your meds every day reduces the amount of virus in your blood and body fluids. HIV meds can keep you healthy for many years, and greatly reduce your chance of transmitting HIV to your sexual partners if you take it consistently and correctly.

Is Your Partner is HIV Negative? Consider Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a relatively new HIV prevention method, which involves HIV negative people taking HIV medication to help prevent HIV infection. A person on PrEP takes one pill each day to ensure that the medication is always in his/her body. If he/she is exposed to HIV, PrEP can help block the virus from spreading. PrEP can reduce their risk of contracting HIV by 92%. If they also use condoms, their risk is reduced to nearly 0%.

Use Condoms Consistently and Correctly

When used correctly and consistently, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV infection, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you live in Arizona, you can get free condoms at a variety of nearby locations, or even mailed to you. Both male and female condoms are available.

Choose Less Risky Sexual Behaviors

Oral sex is much less risky than anal or vaginal sex. Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual activity for HIV transmission. HIV can be sexually transmitted via blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluid, and vaginal fluid. Sexual activities that do not involve the potential exchange of these bodily fluids (e.g. touching) carry no risk for transmitting HIV.

Get Tested and Treated for STDs 

If you are sexually active, you should get tested at least once a year. So should your partners! Talk to your provider about whether more frequent testing is of benefit. STDs can have long-term health consequences. They can also increase your risk of transmitting HIV to others.

Did Your Partner Have a Possible Exposure to HIV?

Seek Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) immediately. PEP involves taking anti-HIV medications as soon as possible after you may have been exposed to HIV to try to reduce the chance of becoming HIV positive. You must begin PEP within 72 hours of your exposure.