Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

These days, more tools than ever are available to prevent the spread of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. 

You can apply strategies such as abstinence (not having sex), never sharing needles, and using condoms the right way every time you have sex. You may also be able to take advantage of HIV prevention medicines, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). 

If you have HIV, there are many actions you can take to prevent transmitting HIV to others, starting with sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should:

– choose sexual activities with little to no risk.

– use condoms the right way every time you have sex.

– and take PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent HIV.

Also, take these actions if you are HIV positive: 

– Get in care and take medicine to treat HIV.

– HIV medicine (called antiretroviral therapy or ART) can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood (called viral load). HIV medicine can make the viral load very low—so low that a test can’t detect it (called an undetectable viral load).

– People with HIV who keep an undetectable viral load (or stay virally suppressed) can live long, healthy lives. Viral suppression is defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.

– If a person has an undetectable viral load, they have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.

There’s a lot more to learn about HIV. Start here.