There are many things you can do to reduce or prevent the risk of contracting HIV. Since we know how HIV is transmitted, these are exactly the areas to focus on in order to prevent HIV.
To reduce or eliminate the risk of contracting HIV by sexual transmission, here are some proactive steps you can take:
Abstain from sexual activity; use condoms correctly and consistently; make sure there are no breaks on the barrier of the condom; do not use condoms whose expiry date has passed; do not reuse condoms; openly discuss your partner's HIV status; ask your partner about past and present sexual behavior; find out if your partner ever used intravenous drugs; be faithful to one sexual partner or have few partners; practice safe sexual behavior; avoid all unprotected sex - including oral sex; learn about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs); openly discuss issues about sex with your partner (i.e. premarital sex, condom use, homosexuality, multiple partners, etc.); get tested for HIV and have your partner get tested.
Take the following steps to help minimize and prevent HIV transmitted through blood:
Do not inject drugs; avoid all intravenously administered substances; if you do inject drugs, always use clean, sterile needles; do not share needles or syringes with anyone else; get tested yearly for HIV; get hepatitis vaccinations; avoid all contact with blood from other people; avoid contact with others' open wounds; if you are caring for an injured person or dressing a wound, wear latex gloves; if you are getting a tattoo, piercing your ears, or piercing any body part, make sure all surgical equipment and/or syringes are cleaned and sterilized first; get tested for HIV if you have any concerns.
Getting Tested for HIV
There are many avenues to turn to today in order to get tested for HIV. Here are but a few:
Home Test Kits
Local Health Department
HIV Testing Centers
Preventing HIV the "ABC" Way
The "ABC Model" of HIV prevention is really just a catch-phrase to help you remember the essential elements of reducing the risk of HIV and AIDS. This three-pronged approach emphasizes the following three key areas: abstinence; being faithful to one or few partners; consistent and correct use of condoms.
Here is the ABC breakdown:
A - Abstinence or delay of first sexual activity
B - Being safe by remaining faithful to one sexual partner or by reducing number of sexual partners; Being safe by getting tested for HIV
C - Correct and consistent use of condoms