How to Protect Yourself

How to Protect Yourself

It is incredibly rare for HIV to be transmitted in a household setting. In a very few cases, HIV has been transmitted when there was unprotected contact between infected blood and broken skin or mucous membranes.

To prevent even such rare occurrences, you should take the following precautions when caring for someone living with HIV:

  • Wear gloves if you are going to have contact with blood or other body fluids that could possibly contain visible blood, such as urine, feces, or vomit.
  • Cover cuts, sores, or breaks in the skin with bandages. This applies to both you and the person living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Wash your hands and other parts of your body immediately after contact with blood or other body fluids. Disinfect surfaces soiled with blood.
  • Avoid practices that increase the likelihood of blood contact, such as sharing of razors and toothbrushes.
  • Use needles and other sharp instruments only when medically necessary and handle them according to recommendations for healthcare settings. (Do not put caps back on needles by hand or remove needles from syringes. Dispose of needles in puncture-proof containers out of the reach of children and visitors.)

For more information, see CDC’s HIV and Its Transmission.

Helping Someone Recently Diagnosed

Supporting Someone Living with HIV How To Protect Yourself

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Additional Resources

  • FDA - HIV/AIDS Activities: Barrier Products
    A listing of articles provided by the FDA for barrier products used to prevent HIV transmission. The list includes articles on condoms and gloves, as well as a discussion about latex allergies associated with some barrier products.
  • CDC – HIV/AIDS Recommendations and Guidelines: Prevention
    This resource provides a listing of CDC literature and information regarding recommendations and guidelines for prevention of HIV transmission as well as educational materials and programs.

Last revised: 11/16/2009