How can I prevent HIV

Although no sexual act is 100% safe, safer sex involves finding ways to be intimate while minimizing the risk of STD transmission. The most important safer sex principles are:

  • The only absolutely Safe Sex is abstinence from any behavior which exposes another person to bodily fluids.
  • Use barrier precautions (latex condoms) for anal and vaginal intercourse and oral sex. Use a water-based lubricant, oil based can destroy latex. A drop of lubricant inside the condom may increase sensitivity.

Nonoxynol-9 may provide extra protection, but don't rely on it alone. Some studies show that Nonoxynol-9 can cause genital irritation that may promote HIV infection, especially with very frequent intercourse. The effects of ingesting Nonoxynol-9 are unstudied.

Use an unlubricated condom for oral sex if a man will cum in your mouth. For oral sex on a woman or oral-anal sex, use a dental dam (latex square), a condom or latex glove cut to produce a flat sheet, or non-microwaveable food wrap. Use barriers only once and only on one person.

Oral sex on a man or non-menstruating woman is thought to be a low risk activity. There is a risk that HIV could enter through small cuts or openings in the mouth, gums or throat: avoid brushing teeth two hours before or after oral sex to reduce risk.

Safe sex means sex which is absolutely safe. Lots of activities are completely safe. You can kiss, cuddle, massage and rub each other's bodies. But if you have any cuts or sores on your hands make sure they are covered with band-aids or latex gloves.

Practicing safer sex may also protect you against other sexually transmitted diseases.