Prevention of HIV and AIDS

Learn how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) can be prevented.

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How can HIV and AIDS be prevented?

There is no vaccine to protect against HIV. You can develop AIDS only if you are infected with HIV.

If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, treatment can prevent you from becoming infected with HIV. You should:

  • see a health care provider immediately to find out if treatment is right for you
  • start treatment within 72 hours of a possible exposure if your health care provider recommends treatment

Sexual activity

All sexual contact has some risk. You can reduce getting and/or spreading HIV by practising safer sex. Safer sex, also known as safe sex, is more than just wearing the proper protection. It includes:

Learn more about how you can practise safer sex.

Drug injection

If you inject drugs, you can reduce the risk of getting and spreading HIV by following safe injection practices. These include:

  • avoiding sharing drug injection paraphernalia, such as:
    • needles
    • syringes
    • cookers
    • spoons
    • water
    • filters
  • using new paraphernalia every time you inject

You can also consider getting help by signing up for a substance use treatment program like methadone therapy. Such a program can help you reduce your:

  • substance dependence
  • risk of getting and spreading HIV and other STIs

Pregnancy and childbirth

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you and your partner should get tested for HIV and other STIs.

If you have HIV, you can prevent passing HIV to your baby by:

  • taking antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy
  • avoiding breastfeeding after you give birth

Acupuncture and other procedures

If you are getting a tattoo, body piercing, electrolysis or acupuncture, you can avoid getting and/or spreading HIV by ensuring:

Medical tourism

If you are travelling to another country to get medical care, ensure:

Workplace exposure

If your job exposes you to contaminated blood or other bodily fluids, you may be at risk for HIV infection.

You can reduce your risk by following routine practices for controlling infection in your workplace.

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