Community Education Group

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Protect Yourself

Why should you know about HIV and AIDS? Because the most important thing you can do for yourself, your friends and your family is stay healthy and stay alive.

The quick facts:

  • There is no cure for HIV and without treatment it leads to AIDS, which is fatal.
  • HIV is preventable – you can protect yourself.
  • Always have safe sex – always use condoms. Learn more about condoms from Rubberman, here.
  • Don’t share needles – not for drugs, not for tattoos.
  • Get tested and know your status – you can protect the ones you love, and if you are positive, you can get treatment before it’s too late.
  • HIV is manageable – if you stay on medication, you can lead a healthy life.

Knowledge is power – read on for more information about HIV and more ways to protect yourself.

What is HIV?

HIV is a virus that weakens the body’s natural defenses against infections, illnesses and cancers. AIDS is the last, fatal, stage of HIV infection, when the body is too weak to protect itself. For more info about what HIV and AIDS are, click here.

How is HIV Spread?

HIV is spread through contact with body fluids – mainly blood, semen and vaginal fluids. This contact usually happens:

  • During vaginal and anal sex with a person who has HIV.
  • When sharing a needle or syringe with a person who has HIV – to inject drugs, make tattoos, pierce body parts or for any other reason.
  • From a mother who has HIV to her body during birth or while breastfeeding.

HIV may also be spread through donated blood or blood products. But this is very unlikely now because:

  • All donors are carefully screened.
  • All donors’ blood products are tested before being used.

HIV is not spread

through the air or through casual activities, such as:

  • Sitting next to someone.
  • Shaking hands or giving a hug.
  • Kissing (NOTE: kissing can spread other STDs, like Herpes – for more information, click here).
  • Eating.
  • Using restrooms, water coolers or telephones.
  • Swimming in a pool or using a hot tub.
  • Donating blood.
  • Being bitten by mosquitoes or other insects or animals.

Prevention

There are many things you can do to protect yourself against HIV. Again, knowledge is power! Share what you’ve learned with your friends, and share these prevention techniques to help save lives.

  • Get tested and know your status.
  • Know your partner’s HIV status.
  • Be faithful to your partner, and make sure your partner is faithful to you – don’t just guess.
  • Use a condom correctly with each sex act, including anal and vaginal sex, with a water-based lubricant.
  • Take control by using a female condom, and learn how to use it before the heat of the moment.
  • Use a condom or dental dam during oral sex.
  • When possible, abstain from sexual activity, as this is the only 100% effective method of not contracting or spreading the virus.
  • Always use clean needles, which should be cleaned with bleach and water.
  • Avoid sharing needles for any type of drugs, even if they are prescription.

Fore more information on preventing infection, click here.