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What are the essential facts about preventing HIV?

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Quick Answer

To prevent HIV, it is important to make sure that HIV-infected fluids do not enter the body, according to Mayo Clinic. Potentially dangerous fluids include blood, semen, breast milk and vaginal secretions.

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If the HIV status of a partner is unknown, it is necessary to use a condom every time during vaginal or anal sexual intercourse, notes Mayo Clinic. Oil-based lubricant may weaken condoms and cause breakage, so only water-based lubricants should be used. During oral sex, it is recommended to use a dental dam or a non-lubricated, cut-open condom.

It is important for individuals to tell any potential sexual partners if HIV is present, states Mayo Clinic. This prevents the virus from spreading further and allows potentially infected people to seek testing and possibly treatment. If injecting drugs, it is important to use sterile needles, which should never be shared.

Pregnant women who may have HIV should seek immediate medical attention to prevent spreading it to the baby, according to Mayo Clinic. People who are at high risk of contracting HIV may wish to speak to a doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Truvada, a medication that lowers the risk of getting HIV. Truvada should only be used in conjunction with other preventative measures and never on its own.

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