Protecting Your Partner

Getting and keep an undetectable viral load is the best thing you can do to stay healthy and protect others. If you take HIV medicine and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.

A few people cannot get an undetectable viral load even though they take HIV medicine as prescribed. If your viral load is not undetectable—or does not stay undetectable—you can still protect your partners by using other prevention options.

For example you can encourage your partner to take PrEP, a medicine that people at risk for HIV take to prevent HIV. If taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV from sex and injection drug use.

Condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Use water-based or silicone-based lubricants to help prevent condoms from breaking or slipping during sex.

Another option is to choose sexual activities with little to no risk. You can’t transmit HIV through sexual activities that don’t involve contact with body fluids (semen, vaginal fluid, or blood).

Get tested and treated for other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). If you get and keep an undetectable viral load, getting an STD does not appear to increase the risk of transmitting HIV. But STDs can cause other problems. If you have a detectable viral load, getting tested and treated for other STDs can help lower your chances of transmitting HIV.