Be Sure, Play Sure, Stay Sure
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Together we can stop the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Know your HIV status:
- If you are having sex and/or using drugs, get tested at least once a year.
- If you have an HIV-positive sex partner, get tested every three to six months.
- If you are a man or a transgender person who has sex with men, get tested every three to six months.
Know your STI status:
- Get tested for other STIs - the only way to be HIV and STI sure is to get tested.
- STIs can make it easier to get HIV or to pass it to others.
- You may not know if you have an STI. Most infections do not cause symptoms.
- If you are a man or a transgender person who has sex with men, your medical provider should test your blood and any parts of your body that you use during sex. If you use it, check it! A urine test may not be enough — you might need throat and anal tests, especially if you are a man or a transgender person who has sex with men.
- Get tested at least annually. Some people may need to get tested every three to six months. Talk to your provider to see what’s best for you.
Choose the safer sex combination that works for you:
Take medications to treat or prevent HIV:
If you’re HIV-negative: Combine your HIV and STI prevention strategies with PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). PrEP is a daily pill that greatly reduces your risk of HIV infection.
If you’re HIV-negative and not taking PrEP: Use emergency PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) if you may have been recently exposed to HIV. PEP is an emergency medication that can prevent HIV infection if started as soon as possible, within 36 hours but not beyond 72 hours, after potential exposure to HIV. To prevent HIV, take PEP for 28 days.
If you’re HIV positive: Combine your HIV and STI prevention strategies with HIV treatment. Remember that HIV Treatment = Prevention.
Talk to Your Partners
- Discuss what you like and don’t like to keep your sex life pleasurable and safe.
- Share 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.
- If applicable, plan on how to prevent unintended pregnancy.
- Support partners living with HIV to get treatment and stay in care, so they stay healthy and reduce the risk of passing HIV to others.
Learn how to Be Sure, Play Sure and Stay Sure by reading the Be/Play/Stay Sure Pocket Guide (PDF).
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Talk to Your Health Care Provider
- Have an honest discussion about the kinds of sex you have and your condom use. Sharing these things helps your provider know which testing and prevention options might be best for you.
- Talking honestly about your sex life is an important part of your health care. If your provider doesn’t bring it up, you should.
- If you don’t feel comfortable having this conversation with your current provider, consider switching to another provider. You have the right to respectful, non-judgmental and confidential care.
- Tell your provider if you recently had a fever, swollen glands, sores on your genitals or a rash—these could be signs of a new HIV or syphilis infection.
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