Prevention Basics

Reduce Your Risk of Getting HIV

  • Learn the basics of HIV. Then, make your personal commitment to staying HIV negative. Let your friends and sexual partners know your boundaries.

  • Get tested regularly. You should get tested at least every three to six months.

  •  Know your partner’s HIV status. Talk to your partner about HIV testing, and get tested before you have sex.

  • Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to have a partner with HIV whose HIV is not well controlled, or to have a partner with a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

  • Have less risky sex. 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.

  • Use condoms...or give them a second chance. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV infection, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Use a condom correctly every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Learn how to use condoms correctly.

    If you live in Arizona, you can get free condoms at a variety of nearby locations, or even mailed to you.

  • Get tested and treated for STDs.  f 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.

  • 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 your risk of contracting HIV by 92%.

  • Practice less risky drug use. Using drugs intravenously can be harmful, but using a new syringe every time or only using your own works can prevent transmission of HIV and other blood borne pathogens. Choosing to smoke or snort can help avoid major risk of transmission as well.

HIV Positive? Treatment is Prevention

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 to less than 2%. Learn more about prevention for positives.

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.