There may not be a cure for HIV, but it is 100% preventable.
The majority of new HIV transmissions are the result of unprotected and condomless sex and sharing needles for injecting drugs. The good news is there are a number of tools in the prevention toolbox, to lower the risk of transmission.
One of the most common tools to prevent HIV transmission is the external condom. Also called male condoms, they are easy to use, cheap to buy (or free at any of our offices) and effective at preventing the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections when used consistently and correctly. Condoms come in a wide variety of sizes, textures, tastes, colors and materials.
Remember: All condom packages should carry an expiry date. Throw them away if the date has passed. Check to ensure the condom has been tested and approved for preventing the transmission of HIV and STIs. Do not store condoms in direct sunlight or in very warm or cold places.
More lubrication makes for safer sex because it lowers the risk of tiny breaks, tears, or lesions on or inside the genitals. Oil based products (including Vaseline, hand cream, or massage oil) can break down condoms and cause them to rip. Silicone or water-based lubricants are good choices and compatible with condoms.
An internal condom, also called an insertive or female condom and designed for vaginal, is a thin piece of polyurethane that creates a lining inside the vagina. Although male condoms are the best choice for anal sex, an insertive condom can be used if the inner ring is removed. It is important to frequently check that the internal condom hasn’t slipped inside the rectum or vagina.
Condoms are best used one at a time. Don’t double up or use an external and internal condom at the same time. This increases the risk of slipping and breaking.
A dental dam is a rectangular piece of latex that can be used as a barrier during oral sex. The dental dam is placed over the vulva or anus and held in place during oral sex. A few drops of lubricant on the side of the genitals can increase sensation. Be sure to remember which side belongs to whom.
You can make your own dental dam out of a male condom. Simply snip off the tip and open end of a condom and cut down the length. What you will have is a square piece of latex that can be used the same as a dental dam.