Proven ways to prevent HIV transmission:
Knowing your HIV status is the first step to preventing HIV. Knowledge is power, the test results will guide you in decisions you make about your own health and, possibly, others. WellFlorida’s High Impact Prevention (HIP) project provides free testing at our Gainesville office and events throughout North Central Florida. We can also deliver a test to your door. Read on.
Condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV. HIP gives away condoms at events throughout the region and works with local businesses to provide condoms to their customers – for free. Check out the participating businesses in Business Responds to AIDs.
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a prescription medicine taken daily prior to possible HIV exposure. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, PrEP is for anyone that’s sexually active and could be exposed to HIV, including those in committed relationships.
PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is medicine taken after possible HIV exposure. It is prescribed in emergency situations and must be taken within 72 hours. Learn more about PrEP & PEP and how HIP can connect you to those resources.
UNDETECTED = UNTRANSMITTABLE (U = U)
People living with HIV cannot transmit the virus if they have an undetectable viral load for at least 6 months and take antiviral therapy (ART) medications as prescribed. An undetectable viral load means the amount of HIV in your blood (viral load) is so low that a test can’t detect it. When HIV is in your body without the prescribed medications, it makes more of itself which can make you sick and more likely to spread HIV to sexual and injecting partners, and from mother to baby during pregnancy, during delivery and breastfeeding. Staying on medications as prescribed is not always easy. HIP helps people living with HIV link to care and stay on treatment because U=U is a game changer.
EXCHANGE OR CLEAN SYRINGES
Sharing needles, syringes or other drug injection equipment puts people at risk for getting or transmitting infections, including HIV. If you inject drugs and the area you live in offers a syringe- or needle- exchange program, take advantage of it! If not, the Florida Department of Health recommends cleaning needles and syringes with ordinary household bleach to inactivate HIV. The bleach must be drawn into the syringe, shaken and squirted out. This process must be completed three times. Then, water must be drawn in, shaken and squirted to thoroughly rinse out the bleach. This process should also be completed three times since injecting bleach into the veins can be more deadly than HIV.