Prevention is the Best Medicine

HIV and other STDs are easily spread from one partner to another. You can’t be safe from the spread of STDs unless you’re responsible about your sex life.

HIV and other STDs can be passed in the following ways:

  • Sexual contact with the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus
  • Sharing needles/syringes and/or your “works” with someone who is infected

Preventing Infection

There are a few simple things you can do to make sure you’re being safe and responsible when it comes to your sex life:

  • Don’t have sex. This is the only sure way to avoid getting HIV or other STDs through sex.
  • Don’t share needles/syringes or “works” to shoot drugs or for anything else.
  • Use a latex condom every time you have sex unless you are sure your partner is not infected. Even though condoms are not 100% effective, when used correctly, they can help prevent HIV and other STDs.
  • Stay with one partner who has sex only with you. Use condoms unless you are sure your partner is not infected with HIV or other STDs.

What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a pill taken daily to prevent HIV. Daily PrEP use reduces the risk of getting HIV through sex by about 99%. Daily PrEP use also reduces the risk of getting HIV through injection drug use by more than 70%. PrEP is safe and effective for adults and adolescents weighing above 77 pounds.

PrEP is intended for use before a possible exposure to HIV. If you think you have been exposed to HIV through needlestick, condomless sex, or by sharing needles or works to prepare drugs within the last 72 hours, you can learn more about non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP) [NIH].

PrEP works best when taken as prescribed and when it is used with other prevention options. When you combine options, you further reduce the risk of getting HIV from another person. Combination prevention lets you decide which prevention option(s) are best for your lifestyle.

Seeking Treatment

If you tested positive for any STD, it’s important that you receive appropriate medication.

If you have tested positive for HIV, seek help immediately. There are services available across the state to help you find and receive medical treatment and other support services.

It can be frightening at first, but if you take the steps to protect yourself and your partners, STDs and HIV are manageable and you can live a full, fulfilling life.

last updated June 30, 2023