Prevention – What You Need To Know

What You Need To Know

Preventing the transmission of STIs and HIV is about knowing the risks, and taking responsibility for minimising the risks through safer practices. 


This can mean practising safer sex to reduce the risk of STI and HIV transmission, or safer injecting practices to reduce the risk of HIV or Hepatitis C transmission. 


Practising safer sex is not just about using condoms.  If you are sexually active, particularly with short–term partners, it is recommended that you get tested for STIs regularly. You can find an STI testing clinic near you here.  


It’s important to consider also that alcohol and drug use can influence your ability to make responsible decisions about your sexual health.

There are many ways to reduce the risks:
  • Practice safer sex – use condoms consistently when having anal, oral and vaginal sex. You can order free condoms here
  • Try to avoid contact with body fluids such as semen during sexual contact, and don’t share fingers, hands or sex toys.
  • Remember that some sexual practices which may be described as ‘safer’ in terms of HIV transmission might still be risky for transmission of other STIs like syphilis or Hepatitis.
  • Get tested regularly.  Keep in mind that it is possible to have an STI and show no signs or symptoms. Testing is available free of charge in many public clinics and some community settings. You can find an STI testing clinic near you here.  
  • Vaccinations are available for Hepatitis A and B and HPV free of charge from your STI/GUM clinic. Find out more about vaccinations here.
  • PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a HIV prevention strategy that involves HIV negative people taking ARVs (antiretroviral drugs) before and after sex to dramatically reduce the chances of sexually acquired HIV infection. Find out more about PrEP here.
  • There is a post-exposure treatment available for HIV. Details of this are in the section on PEP. Find out more about PEP here.
  • If using drugs, do not share any drug-using equipment – see more information in our Safer Injecting Practices section.
  • Educate yourself, know the risks, and take responsibility for your sexual health.