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Prevent HIV

Respect Yourself! Protect Yourself

HIV is avoidable! Whether you sleep with men and/or women, there are certain things you need to know about how to protect yourself.

Get Tested!

Knowing your HIV status is very important. If you test negative, you can take steps to remain negative by educating yourself about safer sex practices and implementing them.

If you test positive, you can take steps to prevent the spread of the virus to your partner(s). You will be able to make critical decisions about your care. Also, you will need support to deal with all the feelings and this new situation in your life.

Know your partner's HIV status!

Whenever possible, knowing your partner's HIV status will help you make decisions about the level of risk you feel comfortable with. With this knowledge you and your partner can choose methods that reduce your chances of HIV transmission.

Educate Yourself!

Learn about available barrier methods (male and female condoms, dental dams, etc.). The consistent and proper use of condoms has been proven to significantly reduce the risk of HIV and other STD transmission.

  • PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis): The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently sent out a letter on May 1, 2011 calling attention to a recent study evaluating the potential for an antiretroviral regimen started before exposure to HIV for preventing HIV trasmission. Click here for more information.

U = U!

U = U, which stands for “Undetectable = Untransmittable,” means that a person whose HIV viral load is undetectable cannot transit HIV to his or her sexual partners. People living with HIV can achieve undetectable status by taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed. GMHC strongly endorses the U = U awareness campaign and the scientific analysis behind it. For more information about U = U, visit

Get GYN exams and STD checks!

If you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) like herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis, it is easier to get HIV! Gynecological care is very important. If left untreated, these diseases have other significant health implications for women.

Reduce other high risk activities!

All alcohol and drug use impairs your judgment and puts you at risk for HIV transmission. When you are "high" you may do things you would not do when you are not, such as engaging in risky sexual behavior or getting into unsafe situations that could result in sexual violence. If you don't want to stop using drugs and/or alcohol, you can still take steps to reduce your risk for HIV transmission:

  • Don't share needles. Clean your works
  • Know the people around you when you get high
  • Keep condoms and other barriers nearby, just in case you feel frisky

Get Tested

Find out where you can get tested for HIV/AIDS and STIs. Read