The more we all learn how HIV has changed, the healthier we can all be.
LEARN ABOUT PREVENTION, TESTING & TREATMENT BELOW
A healthy sex life should be just that: healthy. And now there are simple ways to prevent HIV before, during and after sex.
Whether you’re straight or part of the LGBTQ community, prevention matters to us all. So it’s important to know that when HIV is passed, about 90% of the time it happens during sex. Luckily, there are lots of effective ways to prevent HIV transmission. Using condoms, dental dams and lubricants can help you lower the risk of infection during sex. So can staying in treatment, because when HIV can’t be detected in the blood, it can’t be transmitted through sex. And if you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, starting a medication called PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) within 72 hours can greatly reduce your risk of infection. But that’s not all.
Now there’s PrEP
Now preventing HIV can be as simple as taking a pill. It’s called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), and for people without HIV, taking PrEP once a day can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV by at least 90%. Mild side effects like headaches or stomachaches usually go away after the first month. And with insurance and drug assistance programs, it’s possible to pay very little—even nothing—for your prescription. All that, plus regular HIV and STI testing every few months, makes PrEP a smart option for anyone who thinks they’re at a higher risk for HIV.
Embrace the awkward
One of the easiest ways to prevent HIV? Talking about it before having sex.
- Discuss your status, testing history and sexual health.
- Set your safer sex expectations.
- Recommend a condom, dam or lubricant that works for you.
- If you inject drugs, share that info.
- Taking PrEP? Tell your partner about it.
- Communicate how important your partner’s health is to you.
There’s only one way to know your status. And knowing can help you take care of yourself and the people you love.
Getting tested for HIV is a good idea for just about everyone. And for some, getting tested at least once a year is important to stay healthy. Good thing it usually only takes a few minutes and just a few drops of blood. HIV testing is easy (and often free). And it’s everywhere in Wisconsin, from community clinics and hospitals to neighborhood pharmacies and your doctor’s office. There are even home kits. So you can choose the confidential option that’s most comfortable for you.
Testing is for everyone
The CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested at least once. But if you’re sexually active or inject drugs, you may want to get tested more regularly.
- Having sex? Get tested.
- Pregnant or thinking about it? Get tested.
- Using syringes? Get tested.
- Recently diagnosed with an STI? Get tested.
- Can’t remember the last time you got tested? Get tested.
- Not sure how often you should get tested? Visit HIV.gov.
Go. Don’t be scared. Protect yourself and protect someone else you care about. - Tianna
Fewer pills. Milder side effects. Longer, healthier lives. HIV treatment has come a long way.
It’s amazing what tireless scientific research and a few decades can do. Today, HIV is a manageable condition with some pretty straightforward treatment options. For many people, taking just one to three pills a day can dramatically lower the amount of virus in their blood, until it’s so small it can’t be detected. And when HIV is undetectable, generally speaking, it can’t be passed on to others. The condition even has a nickname: U=U, for “undetectable equals untransmittable.”
Find healthy support
Staying strong and healthy is easier when you have a network of support. Start building your own by reaching out to people and programs that can help, like:
There are people living with HIV that are healthier than you and me. - Geoffrey