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7 Ways to Avoid Transmitting HIV

7 Ways to Avoid Transmitting HIV

As far as viruses go, transmitting HIV is actually a bit difficult. You are most at risk of passing the virus on to someone else when you are first diagnosed. Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid transmission. Here are the top seven.

1. Become undetectable: Stay on HIV medication and get your viral load down, and you won’t have to worry about transmitting HIV to anyone.

2. Disclose when you need to: If your sexual partner will be at risk, they need to know. (But not before you have your first coffee date.) 

3. Don’t share needles: Whether you use needles for legal drugs (like hormone shots) or illegal street drugs, reusing needles is risky business.

4. Play safe: ask your sexual partners to use condoms or take PrEP (a one-pill-a-day HIV preventative treatment).

5. Take advantage of lower risk activities like oral sex — and have your partners either spit or swallow (stomach acids kill HIV).

6. Chose the right lubricant (avoid two ingredients: polyquaternium and polyquaternium-15, both types of polymers, which can increase the risk of HIV transmission).

7. Don’t panic over a little blood. HIV must enter the body directly via mucous membranes or the bloodstream in order for transmission to occur. Generally, those membranes need to be open via cuts or abrasions. Abrasions in the rectum and vagina are common during sex, when semen can enter the bloodstream. But exposing those abrasions to significant amounts of blood is rarer. 

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