Learn the Facts

You cannot get HIV from…

  • Kissing
  • Hugging
  • Sharing food
  • Insect bites
  • Toilet seats
  • Bathing
  • Sneezes and coughs
  • Sweat

You cannot prevent HIV by…

  • Washing after sex
  • Withdrawal (or the “pulling out” method)
  • Limiting sexual and/or injection drug use partners to people who look healthy or seem to have limited sexual and/or drug use experience
  • Using birth control medication options (ex: birth control pills, patches, rings, or injectables)

You can get HIV via…

  • Anal or vaginal sex without an effective prevention method (condom or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis [PrEP] )
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding (from mother to baby)
  • Sharing needles, syringes, and injecting equipment

You can prevent HIV by…

  • Using an internal or external condom every time you have anal or vaginal sex
  • Taking PrEP
  • Taking Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) within 72 hours of exposure
  • Avoiding activities that require using needles, syringes, and other injecting equipment without physician instruction
  • Using new needles, syringes, and injection equipment and avoiding sharing these materials
  • If you have HIV and are pregnant, taking HIV treatment, avoiding breastfeeding, and following your physician’s instructions
  • If you have HIV, by staying engaged in treatment to achieve an undetectable viral load

Isn’t HIV only a risk for a certain groups of people?
HIV does not discriminate between types of people. If someone engages in specific activities (anal sex, vaginal sex, injecting drugs and sharing needles, syringes, and/or other injecting equipment) they are vulnerable to HIV.

I’m living with HIV. What can I do to protect my sexual partner(s) and/or people I share syringes with?
The best thing you can do for your health and your partner’s health is to stay engaged in HIV treatment and take your medication daily as prescribed. Doing so will help you both achieve an undetectable HIV viral load, which benefits your health greatly and reduces the likelihood of HIV transmission significantly. Beyond HIV, sex and syringe-sharing make you and your partner(s) vulnerable to other STIs and infections. Consider the prevention methods described above (condoms, new needles, new injection equipment) and use the resources below to get started with free materials and support.


If you live in the Memphis area, reach out to our partner Hope House.
23 S Idlewild Street, Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 272-2702