Other ways to prevent HIV
Maintaining an undetectable viral load is just one of many ways to prevent HIV. Here are some other highly effective ways that you, your sex partners and the people you use drugs with can prevent HIV:
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
PrEP is a combination of two meds that an HIV-negative person can take on an ongoing basis, starting before and continuing after they might come into contact with HIV. It needs to be prescribed by a healthcare provider. For PrEP to work, it is important that the pills are taken as prescribed. Besides taking pills, PrEP involves seeing a doctor or nurse every three months for HIV testing, screening for STIs and other infections, monitoring for possible side effects, and ongoing support.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
PEP is a combination of three meds that an HIV-negative person can take after they might have come into contact with HIV, to help prevent them from getting HIV. For example, someone might choose to use PEP after a condom breaks during sex or after they share needles or other equipment to inject drugs. It is prescribed by a healthcare provider. PEP should be taken as soon as possible after the exposure, and certainly within 72 hours. PEP needs to be taken every day for 28 days. A person who wants to take PEP should immediately contact their doctor, a hospital emergency department or a sexual health clinic to ask how to get it.
Condoms are a great way to help prevent HIV and other STIs during sex. There are external (sometimes called male) and internal (sometimes called female) condoms. The chance of HIV passing is very low if you use condoms the right way each time you have sex.
New equipment for using drugs
When injecting drugs, it’s best to use new needles, syringes, filters, cookers, acidifiers, alcohol swabs, tourniquets and sterile water each time. There is no chance of passing HIV or hepatitis B and C if you use new equipment each time you inject drugs.