Prevent HIV and Other STIs

Protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is not one-size-fits-all. You can enjoy your sex life and still protect yourself from HIV and other STIs. Below are some steps to help you be HIV sure and play safe.

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Get tested regularly for HIV and other STIs

If you are having sex, get tested at least once a year. Gay and bisexual men and transgender persons should get tested every three to six months.

STIs can make it easier to get HIV or pass it to others. You may not know that you have an STI, as some infections may not cause symptoms.

Find out where you can get tested (or retested) today by calling 311 or texting 'TestNYC' to 877-877.

To help stop HIV and other STIs, choose a combination that works for you

  • Take medicines to treat or prevent HIV. If you have HIV, HIV medicines help keep you healthy and make it harder to pass HIV to your partners. If you do not have HIV, daily PrEP and emergency PEP can help you stay HIV-negative.
  • Use condoms as often as possible. Consistent condom use helps prevent HIV and other STIs. Find the size and type of condom you like. Condoms are available for free all over New York City.
  • Use plenty of water-based or silicon-based lube. Either is safe on latex condoms. Using lube helps keep the condom from breaking. Lube also prevents tearing or bleeding, especially during anal sex.

Sexual health begins with being comfortable talking about sex

  • Talk about sex with your partners: Discuss when you last got tested for HIV and other STIs. To be sure, get tested together. Talk about PrEP as an option for HIV prevention, especially if you don’t use condoms every time you have sex.

Know your HIV risk

Your risk of being exposed to HIV depends on the kind of sex you have. There is no risk from massage or masturbation, and very low risk from oral sex. Vaginal sex has a higher risk of exposure. The risk is highest for anal sex, especially for the “bottom” or receptive partner.

Your risk of HIV also depends on how much virus is in your sex partner’s body fluids. Your risk is much lower if your partner is taking HIV medicines every day and their HIV is “undetectable.” Your risk is much higher if your partner was recently infected with HIV, or if you or your partner have an STI.

Learn more about HIV and AIDS.

More on HIV/AIDS