How can I avoid getting HIV?
The best ways to protect yourself from getting infected with HIV are to:
- Not have sex with a person who is infected or is having sex with others.
- Practice “safer” sex if you do have sex.
- Not share needles and syringes.
You can’t tell who’s infected with HIV by how they look. It takes an average of 8 years for symptoms of AIDS to develop after a person is infected with HIV. So even people who don’t look or feel sick can give you AIDS.
What is “safer” sex?
The “safest” sex is no sex. If you are having sex, “safer” sex is sex between 2 people who don’t have HIV infection, only have sex with each other and don’t abuse injectable drugs.
Safer sex also means using condoms if you have any doubts about whether your partner is infected or whether he or she is having sex with someone else. Use male latex condoms every time you have sex.
If a man doesn’t want to use a male condom, use a female condom. Female condoms may not be as effective as male condoms, but they offer some protection.
Never let someone else’s blood, semen, urine, vaginal fluid or feces get into your anus, vagina or mouth.