We can end HIV with more testing, early treatment and continued commitment to minimising the risk of HIV transmission.

3 safe sex facts

  • Fact: Condoms are extremely effective.

    They’re one of the best protections we’ve got against HIV and against most STIs. Condoms can occasionally break if used incorrectly but using lots of lube will prevent most breakages.

  • Fact: The presence of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) can make it easier to transmit or acquire HIV.

    If you’re HIV positive and not on antiretroviral treatment, STIs or other infections can increase or ‘spike’ your viral load making it more likely that HIV will be transmitted. An STI infection can also make people without HIV susceptible to HIV infection.

  • Fact: Sex toys can transmit HIV and STIs when shared.

    Washing toys in warm soapy water and drying them between use and between partners or using a new condom on them with each partner prevents HIV and STI transmission.

What are risk reduction strategies?

Condoms, PrEP and undetectable viral load are key combinations to help you stay safe. Here are some other methods you could also use to reduce risk.

These strategies have varying degrees of effectiveness and their effectiveness is based on specific conditions that must be met, such as knowledge of your HIV status and that of your partners. Risk reduction strategies may include:

  • Serosorting is unprotected anal sex between guys of the same HIV status. You have to know your own and your partner’s status for serosorting to be effective. Just assuming it’s the same is not enough.
  • Withdrawal is when the top pulls out before cumming. This strategy is relatively ineffective for the bottom (the guy being receptive), and doesn’t reduce transmission risk to the top very much at all.
  • Neg top/Pos bottom is when the HIV-negative guy tops an HIV-positive bottom. Topping is less risky than bottoming but still includes risk of HIV transmission. It also includes risk of STI transmission from top to bottom and vice versa.
  • Negotiated safety is a particular kind of relationship agreement where HIV-negative partners in a regular relationship disclose their HIV status to each other, discuss risks and agree to repeat HIV testing before having unprotected anal sex. For more information see Our Team.

To understand the level of risk involved in each of the strategies, use the Risk Calculator

It is important to note that under most states’ public health laws, people are required to disclose their HIV positive status before sex (NSW and Tasmania) and/or take reasonable measures to prevent HIV transmission during sex (ACT, NSW, Qld, SA, Tas and Vic).

Think you’ve been exposed to HIV? Act fast.

A wild night out, hot sex with a guy and then… waking up to the realisation that you didn’t use a condom. Or maybe the condom broke and you’re not sure of your partner’s HIV status. It happens.

But if you’re still in the 72-hour window after possible exposure (and the earlier the better), get straight onto a four-week course of anti-HIV medication known as PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis), which will give you the best chance of blocking HIV infection. For more information go to GET PEP.

Acon's Commitment

One of the main ways ACON is committing to ending HIV by 2020 is through sustained advocacy efforts on behalf of our community as well as feeding information about the effectiveness of the ENDING HIV initiative back to the community… Read more.

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