Ways of protection
Condoms protect against HIV and lower the risk of getting other STIs. Use a condom when having vaginal sex or anal sex.
Avoid getting blood and semen in your mouth (or swallowing them) during oral sex; then the risk of getting HIV becomes very low.
- Only use your own injection material, or new material.
- More than 99% of all babies of mothers with HIV are born without HIV, if the mother takes medicines during pregnancy.
In case of emergency
If you have been exposed to HIV, you can take a medicine called ‘PEP’. Take the medicine as quickly as possible (no longer than 3 days after unprotected contact). The sooner you start taking it after the unprotected contact, the higher the chance of not getting infected. Ask a doctor for help.
No longer risk of infection
If you take your HIV medicines correctly every day, the amount of HIV in your blood (viral load) lowers. After a few months it can often no longer be traced, though the virus is still in your body. There is then almost no risk that you will infect someone else.
Under certain conditions, it is possible for you to have sex without a condom with your steady partner (steady relationship) who does not have HIV:
- If you take your medicines correctly every day, and
- If, for at least 6 months, your viral load can no longer be detected, and
- If your viral load has been checked less than 6 months ago, and
- If you have no other STI and the mucous membrane of your mouth, anus, penis or vagina is not damaged.