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HIV & AIDS Prevention

Information sourceInternet2013-01-25


HIV prevention is using a number of methods to reduce or eliminate the risk of HIV transmission between people. HIV can be transmitted in three main ways:

1.Sexual transmission

2.Transmission through blood

3.Mother-to-child transmission

Universal HIV prevention methods include HIV testing and counselling, condom use, circumcision, family planning and sex education. HIV prevention programmes aim to implement and scale-up these HIV prevention methods at the community, local and national level.

Using treatment as prevention is a method that has emerged in recent years. Good adherence to antiretroviral treatment can lower a person’s viral load and reduces the risk of onward HIV transmission. HIV treatment is used to prevent the transmission of HIV from a pregnant mother to her child (PMTCT), during pregnancy and breastfeeding. HIV treatment is also used by people who may be exposed to HIV (pre-exposure prophylaxis), such as discordant couples, or by people who have been exposed to HIV (post-exposure prophylaxis).

HIV prevention programmes should be comprehensive, making use of all approaches known to be effective rather than just implementing one or a few select actions in isolation. ‘Combination prevention’ is the term increasingly used by policy makers and programmers to describe this approach. Successful HIV prevention programmes not only give information, but also build skills and provide access to essential commodities such as condoms or sterile injecting equipment. It should be remembered that many people don’t fit into only one “risk category”. For example, injecting drug users need access to condoms and safer sex counselling as well as support to reduce the risk of transmission through blood.

From this page you can find information about how to prevent HIV infection during sex; this includes information about condoms and how to use condoms during vaginal, anal and oral sex. Other HIV prevention topics, such as: the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, blood safety, needle and syringe exchange, sex education, using treatment as prevention, as well as information and case studies of HIV prevention around the world, can also be accessed from this page.