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Preventing HIV transmission

The risk of getting or passing on HIV can be dramatically reduced by:

  • using a condom and water-based lubricant for fucking
  • using a latex glove for fisting
  • keeping cum out of your mouth or your partner’s mouth during oral sex
  • being on treatment if you’re living with HIV
  • taking PrEP if you’re negative
  • taking PEP.

Using condoms with a water-based lubricant

Using a lubricant makes it less likely that condoms will break. However, oil-based lubricants destroy rubber, making latex condoms and gloves split. This means that condoms and gloves don’t mix well with oil-based lubricants like massage and baby oil, suntan lotion, skin cream, Vaseline or food products containing oil.

Instead, use water-based lubricants like:

  • KY Jelly
  • Liquid Silk
  • Wetstuff.

If fisting and looking for a lube that’s not oil-based, there’s J-Lube or Lubrifist. Crisco, which is often used by fisters, is oil-based and will weaken condoms and gloves.

PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis)

Check out PrEP if you think you may be at risk of HIV. PrEP’s a drug you take before unprotected sex that blocks HIV if it gets into your body, before it infects you. Note that PrEP doesn’t protect against any other STIs.

How you can get it depends on where you live – IWantPrepNow can help.

If you can’t access PrEP, and can’t afford to buy it privately, you might be eligible for Terrence Higgins Trust’s PrEP Access Fund.

PEP (Post-exposure prophylaxis)

If a condom breaks or you have unsafe sex, PEP is a month-long course of anti-HIV pills that can make it less likely that someone will get HIV. But PEP must be started very quickly – within 72 hours (three days) after running a risk. And the sooner it’s started, the more chance it’ll work (within 24 hours is best).

PEP can have unpleasant side-effects, is not guaranteed to work and can be difficult to get. It’s available from GUM clinics or hospital Accident and Emergency departments.

PEP is not a ‘morning-after pill’. You have to take it for four weeks for it to have a chance of working. And PEP is no substitute for condoms. Unlike PEP, condoms are cheap, easy to find, only need to be used during sex, have no side-effects and are very effective at stopping HIV.

Last review: 08/11/2018
Next review: 08/11/2021