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HIV Prevention - Reducing the Risks of HIV Transmission

Know It. Live It. Prevent It - infographic

There are a number of ways to prevent and reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

HIV transmission is when the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is passed from one person to another.

HIV can be transmitted in three main ways:

  1. Sexual transmission (via unprotected sex without a condom)
  2. Transmission through blood (such as used needles and blood donations)
  3. Mother-to-child transmission (during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding).

HIV prevention methods

Using condoms consistently and correctly is an effective way to prevent the sexual transmission of HIVHIV prevention methods try to address the three main routes of transmission listed above.

Knowing the facts about HIV and being aware of your status (if you are HIV-positive or HIV-negative) makes it easier to prevent HIV infection.

Preventing the sexual transmission of HIV

Preventing HIV transmission through blood

Preventing mother-to-child transmission

There are a number of steps to preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV:

  • Testing the mother for HIV at their first antenatal appointment, during their third trimester and after delivery of their baby.
  • Treatment should be offered if the mother tests positive.
  • The baby should be tested when it is born and also offered treatment if positive.

Treatment as prevention

Increasingly, antiretroviral treatment is being used to prevent HIV transmission. Good adherence to antiretroviral treatment can lower a person’s viral load and reduce the risk of onwards HIV transmission to others.

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) - emergency HIV treatment

Emergency treatment to prevent HIV infection, known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), is a series of antiretroviral drugs taken after potential exposure to HIV. Ask your healthcare provider if it is available in your country.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)

HIV treatment known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) can be taken before potential exposure to HIV. For example, if one partner in a relationship is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative (known as a serodifferent couple), the negative partner can take PrEP to protect themselves from HIV transmission.

Protect yourself from HIV!

Learn more about how to protect yourself from HIV with AVERT's HIV Prevention Fact Sheets >>

Page last reviewed: 
12/12/2014
Next review date: 
12/06/2016

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