Risks

How do you know if you’re at risk of acquiring HIV? There are several situations and environments that are high risk for individuals.

Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse lowers your conscious awareness, which may lead you to become involved in high-risk scenarios, such as unprotected sex, sex with strangers, high-risk sexual partners, or injection drug use. Even as few as 1-2 alcoholic beverages is enough to raise your Blood Alcohol Content and decrease your ability to make good decisions. “Nearsightedness” of judgment is a common result of intoxication, and it may cause you to do something you would not normally do or put yourself at undue risk.

Drug Abuse
While most people may assume risk of HIV through injection drug use or needle sharing, many do not realize that all drug use can put you at risk. Drug use of any means can dampen your judgment, which may lead to unsafe sexual activities. By engaging in unsafe sex, you risk contracting HIV or transmitting it to someone else. Drug abuse also can affect your health and lower your immune system, making you more susceptible to HIV/AIDS. In addition, HIV can be directly spread through shared needles used for injection drug use.

Unsafe Sex
Unprotected sex can put you in danger of obtaining HIV. If you do not know the HIV status of your partner, the safest way to protect yourself is to not have sex. Unprotected anal sex puts you at the highest risk, but unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex can all put you at risk. If your partner is HIV-positive, always use a condom and consult with your doctor for additional information to prevent the spread of HIV.