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 to help reduce the risk of contracting HIV. It's not 100% effective though, so it's important to also use condoms and healthier sex practices.
PrEP is meant for people who have a greater risk of contracting 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.
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...
or treatment as prevention. While there is no cure for HIV, people living with HIV can use TasP (along with condoms and other healthier sex practices) 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 being undetectable for six months or more can lower the chance that someone could pass on HIV through sex by more than 90%.
PEP or Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a prescription medicine taken daily, and is a combination of 3 or 4 antiretroviral medicines. You take it 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! >
Want to be more
Check out these resources:
The healthy sex
talk starts here
Use this guide to help get the ball rolling.
Want a healthcare provider who has more LGBT+ experience? The GLMA Doctor Locator can help find one near you.
Want to talk more
Talk to a healthcare provider. Don't have one? Find one here.
Find free condoms