HIV and STD Prevention Options

If you get an STD you are more likely to get HIV than someone who is STD-free. This is because the same behaviors and circumstances that may put you at risk for getting an STD can also put you at greater risk for getting HIV. In addition, having a sore or break in the skin from an STD may allow HIV to more easily enter your body.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO AVOID STDs?

Here's How You Can Avoid Giving or Getting an STD:

  • GET TESTED: Many STDs don't have symptoms, but they can still cause health problems. Talk with your health care provider and find a location to get tested for STDs.
  • Have Fewer Partners: Agree to only have sex with one person who agrees to only have sex with you. Make sure you both get tested to know for sure that neither of you has an STD. This is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs.
  • Talk with your partner: about STDs and staying safe before having sex. It might be uncomfortable to start the conversation, but protecting your health is your responsibility.
  • Use Condoms: Using a condom correctly every time you have sex can help you avoid STDs. Condoms lessen the risk of infection for all STDs. You still can get certain STDs, like herpes or HPV, from contact with your partner's skin even when using a condom.
  • Get Vaccinated: HPV is the most common STD and can be prevented by a vaccine. The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and can help you avoid HPV-related health problems like genital warts and some cancers.
  • Practice abstinence: The surest way to avoid STDs is not to have sex. This means not having vaginal, oral or anal sex.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I TEST POSITIVE FOR AN STD?

Getting an STD is not the end! Many STDs are curable and all are treatable. If either you or your partner is infected with an STD that can be cured, both of you need to start treatment immediately to avoid getting re-infected.

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT HIV PREVENTION?

Today, more tools than ever are available to prevent HIV. You can use strategies such as abstinence (not having sex), limiting your number of sexual partners, never sharing needles, and using condoms the right way every time you have sex. You may also be able to take advantage of newer HIV prevention medicines such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

If you are living with HIV, there are many actions you can take to prevent passing it to others. The most important is taking medicines to treat HIV (called antiretroviral therapy, or ART) the right way, every day. They can keep you healthy for many years and greatly reduce your chance of transmitting HIV to your partners.