Hesperian Health Guides

Preventing HIV

You can prevent the spread of HIV in these ways:

  • If possible, have sex with only one partner who has sex only with you.
  • Practice safer sex — sex that prevents semen, blood and vaginal fluids from getting into your vagina, anus, or mouth. Use condoms correctly whenever you have sex.
  • Get tested for HIV and treated for STIs, and make sure your partners do too.
  • Avoid piercing or cutting the skin with needles or other tools that have not been disinfected between uses.
  • Avoid blood transfusions except in emergencies.
  • Do not share razors.
  • Do not touch someone else’s blood or wound without protection (see Preventing infections in the home).

Preventing HIV is not Always Easy

two women listening to a radio while one is thinking

To prevent HIV do not sell or trade sex.
But I cannot feed my children or send them to school unless I do.

a woman listening to a radio and thinking

To prevent HIV, use condoms every time you have sex.
But I cannot get my husband to use a condom.

a woman listening to a radio and thinking while a small child plays nearby

To prevent HIV, have sex only with one faithful partner.
I do have sex with only my husband, but I know he has other women.

This page was updated:01 Feb 2021