Condoms and lube are great—but they're not the only tools available to fight STIs. Several prevention medicines are available—that you can use along with condoms and lube—to help prevent STIs, including HIV.
If you're interested in using prevention medicines, you'll need to talk to a healthcare provider. They'll be able to help you take the next step.
Keep reading to learn more about:
Hepatitis A and B vaccines are now recommended for everyone as children. If you weren't vaccinated as a child, a healthcare provider can tell you if you should get vaccinated now.
The HPV vaccine protects against certain strains of HPV that cause genital warts or abnormal cell growth that can lead to cancer. The vaccine is recommended for all girls and boys ages 11 or 12. But you can only be vaccinated before the age of 26. If you weren't vaccinated, a healthcare provider can tell you if you should get vaccinated now.
Read more about the HPV vaccine.
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.
Pre = Before
Exposure = Contact
Prophylaxis = Prevent
PrEP means taking prescription medicine every day before you're exposed to HIV to help reduce the risk of getting HIV. PrEP is for people who are HIV-negative and at risk of getting HIV through sex.
Not sure if that's you? A healthcare provider can tell you if PrEP is a good prevention option for your situation.
Consider talking to a healthcare provider about PrEP, if you:
- Have more than one sexual partner
- Have anal or vaginal sex without a condom
- Have had an STI recently
- Have sex with someone who's HIV+
- Have sexual partner(s) in an area of the country or community where HIV is more common
Talk to a healthcare provider about PrEP. Don't have one?
Find one here.
We've covered the basics here, but if you want even more PrEP info,
the CDC can help.
By the way, if you have a partner who's living with HIV, there are things they can do to protect you from getting HIV.
That's right. It's called...
TasP stands for "treatment as prevention." While there is no cure for HIV, people living with HIV can use TasP to help protect their sexual partners from HIV.
It's like this: Taking HIV treatment every day can lower the amount of virus in the blood to the point where a test can't even pick it up. That's called undetectable. And current research shows that people living with HIV who get to and stay undetectable have basically no risk of passing HIV to their partners through sex. To stay undetectable, people must keep taking their HIV treatment every day.
Talk to a healthcare provider if you or your partner have any questions about HIV treatment or how to get to and stay undetectable.
PEP, or Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, means taking prescription medicines daily after you think you've been exposed to HIV.
4 Things You Should Know About PEP:
- You need to start taking PEP medicines within 72 hours after exposure (but the sooner the better)
- PEP requires taking prescription medicines every day for 28 days
- Talk to a healthcare provider right away if you think you've been exposed
- You can get prescriptions for PEP from an emergency room, a 24-hour clinic, or a healthcare provider
PEP is usually used in emergency situations—like if the condom breaks and you aren't sure of your partner's status, you have condomless sex with someone who is living with HIV, or if you've gotten stuck with a needle. If you're looking for a more proactive prevention method, consider talking to a healthcare provider about PrEP, using condoms, and other healthier sex practices.
PrEP, PEP, TasP, or vaccinated, you still need to use condoms and lube—no matter your status, prevention matters.More to see? Oh, yes! >