SUPPORTIVE CARE COUNSELING
Through services like testing, comprehensive risk counseling, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), we can reduce the spread of HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and improve the health of our community.
Activities like engaging in oral, vaginal, or anal sex, sex without a condom, sex with multiple partners, sex with anonymous partners, or sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol increase a person's risk for acquiring STIs and HIV. At ARG, we empower individuals to make positive choices that reduce their risk of infection through a variety of approaches.
While abstinence is the only way to eliminate the risk of contracting HIV and STIs, other prevention tools, like counseling, prophylactic use, and medications, are very effective at keeping people sexually healthy. Our prevention team works individually with each patient to develop a strategy that meets their unique health needs. Our services are free and confidential, and in most cases do not require an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome!
Abstinence - Abstinence means not having oral, vaginal, or anal sex. An abstinent person is someone who’s never had sex or someone who’s had sex but has decided not to continue having sex for some period of time. Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and pregnancy. The longer you wait to start having oral, vaginal, or anal sex, the fewer sexual partners you are likely to have in your lifetime. Having fewer partners lowers your chances of having sex with someone who has HIV or another STD.
Vaccinations - There is currently no vaccine that will prevent HIV infection or treat those who have it.
Lubricants - Lubricants can help prevent condoms from breaking or slipping. Water-based and silicon-based lubricants are safe to use with all condoms. Oil-based lubricants and products containing oil, such as hand lotion, Vaseline, or Crisco, should not be used with latex condoms because they can weaken the condom and cause it to break. It is safe to use any kind of lubricant with nitrile female condoms. But lubricants containing nonoxynol-9 should not be used because nonoxynol-9 irritates the lining of the vagina and anus and increases the risk of getting HIV.
Needles - Stopping injection and other drug use can lower your chances of getting or transmitting HIV a lot. If you keep injecting drugs, use only sterile needles and works. Never share needles or works.
You are at very high risk for getting HIV if you use a needle or works after someone with HIV has used them. Also, when people are high, they’re more likely to have risky sex, which increases the chance of getting or transmitting HIV.
The best way to reduce your risk of HIV is to stop using drugs. You may need help to stop or cut down using drugs, but many resources are available. Talk with a counselor, doctor, or other health care provider about substance abuse treatment.
If you keep injecting drugs, here are some things you can do to lower your risk for getting HIV and other infections:
Use only new, sterile needles and works each time you inject. Many communities have needle exchange programs where you can get new needles and works, and some pharmacies may sell needles without a prescription.
What is PrEP? - “PrEP” stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. PrEP is a way for people who don’t have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill contains two medicines that are also used to treat HIV. If you take PrEP and are exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body.
PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. But people who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and seeing their health care provider for follow-up every 3 months