You CANNOT get infected by:

  • casual, everyday contact
  • shaking hands, hugging, kissing
  • coughs, sneezes
  • giving blood
  • swimming pools, toilet seats
  • sharing utensils, water fountains
  • mosquitoses, other insects, animals.

Is it safe for me to be around someone who has HIV?

Yes! it is quite safe to work, study or play with people who have HIV and AIDS. It is also safe for children to be in day care or attend school with children who have HIV and AIDS

What are universal precautions?

Universal precautions are infection control guidelines designed to protect workers from exposure to diseases spread by blood and other body fluids. These guidelines are meant to keep people safe from infection and discrimination by suggesting that we assume that everyone is infected with a blood-borne disease such as HIV or hepatitis.

If you ever have to clean up anyone’s blood or any other body fluids, wear latex gloves, clean the soiled surface and disinfect with a fresh bleach solution (one part bleach, 9 parts water). Place any soiled materials in a sealed plastic bag and discard in a covered garbage container. Wash your hands afterwards with soap and warm water. Machine-wash any soiled clothes separately in hot soapy water.

Keep in mind that the Canadian Charter of Human Rights prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities; this includes HIV/AIDS. Also, Canadian law recognizes HIV/AIDS as a disability, like any other medical condition.

How can I have sex more safely?

You can have fun – and erotic – sex with no risk of getting HIV. There are many sexual activities that do not involve any risk of semen, vaginal fluids, or blood entering your blood stream

What are some examples of Safer Sex?

No risk

  • Kissing – including deep or open-mouthed
  • hugging
  • massaging
  • fondling, touching, rubbing
  • masturbating (alone or with your partner)

Low risk

  • Oral sex is considered low risk because the saliva doesn’t transmit HIV. However, if you have any fresh cuts or sores in your mouth (even unnoticable), infected semen, blood or vaginal fluids can enter your bloodstream when you lick or suck a penis, vagina or anus

High Risk

The linings of the vagina and anus are delicate and thin, and can tear easily. These small tears can be invisible and unnoticable, but enough to let HIV into your blood stream. Therefore, the riskiest sexual activities are:

  • having vaginal or anal intercourse without a condom
  • sharing sex toys without using a new condom for each other, or without cleaning them between users.

NEVER re-use condoms!

*This content was originally published by CATIE, Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information.