Ways of protection
- Condoms protect against HIV and lower the risk of other STIs. Use a condom when having vaginal or anal sex. Avoid getting blood or semen in your mouth during oral sex. Do not swallow them. This way, the risk of getting HIV is 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.
- Some people can take preventative HIV medicines. This treatment is called PrEP. For more information, ask a doctor at an AIDS Reference Centre (ARC). An Aids Reference Centre provides information, advice, support and guidance on HIV, STIs and PrEP.
Preventative treatment with HIV medication: PrEP
PrEP is HIV medicines for preventing infection. PrEP does not replace condoms. The PrEP pill (Truvada) only protects against HIV and does not protect against other STIs. It is an extra protection for people who have a high chance of becoming infected with HIV.
With PrEP, you have to take 1 pill every day at the same time, which you choose. Men who have sex with men can choose to only take PrEP before and after sex:
- 2 pills, between 2 and 24 hours before anal sex and
- 1 pill, between 24 hours and 2 days after the last time you had anal sex
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 running the risk of infection). The sooner you start taking it, the higher the chance of not getting infected. Ask a doctor for help.
No longer any 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. Then you will no longer be able to infect someone else with HIV.
- If you take your HIV medicines correctly every day, and
- If, for at least 6 months, your viral load can no longer be detected, and
- If your viral load was checked less than 6 months ago;
- If you and your partner have no other STI and the mucous membrane of your mouth, anus, penis or vagina is not damaged.