Prevention

Through services like testing, CLEAR counseling, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), we can reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and improve the health of our community.

Engaging in oral, vaginal, or anal sex without a condom, sex with multiple or anonymous partners, or sex while under the influence of substances increase a person’s risk for contracting STIs and HIV. At ARG, we empower individuals to make positive choices that reduce their risk of infection.

While abstinence is the only way to eliminate the risk of contracting HIV and STIs, other prevention tools, like counseling, condom use, and medication, are highly effective at keeping individuals sexually healthy. Our prevention team works with each client to develop a strategy that meets their unique health needs. Our services are free and confidential, and in most cases they do not require an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome!

What is PrEP?“PrEP” stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. PrEP is a once-per-day medication prescribed to high-risk HIV individuals to prevent them from contracting HIV. The pill contains medicine that is also used to treat HIV. If you take PrEP and are exposed to HIV, these medications can help keep the virus from taking hold in your body.

PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool which should be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when the medication is used alone. People who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and seeing their health care provider for follow-up every 3 months. While we do not prescribe PrEP, we can provide you with the appropriate education and provider physician referrals.

AbstinenceAbstinence means not having oral, vaginal, or anal sex. An abstinent person is someone who has never had sex or someone who has had sex but has decided not to continue for a period of time. Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy.

VaccinationsThere is currently no vaccine to prevent HIV.

LubricantsLubricants 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 oils such as lotion, petroleum jelly, or cooking oils, should not be used with latex condoms as they can weaken the condom and cause breakage.

NeedlesInjection and other substance abuse can increase the chances of contracting or transmitting HIV. If injecting substances, it is imperative to use sterile needles or works. You are at high risk of contracting HIV if sharing needles or works with someone who is HIV+. When individuals are high, they are more likely to have unprotected sex, which increases the chance of contracting HIV.

The best way to reduce the risk of HIV is to stop using substances, change methods of usage, or use harm reduction supplies. For additional assistance with substance abuse, talk with a counselor, doctor, or other health care provider about substance abuse treatment.

If one should decide to keep injecting substances, these steps can lower the risk for contracting HIV and other infections:

HIV Prevention Services

Comprehensive Risk Counseling Services (CRCS): provides client-centered, one-on-one counseling with the purpose of managing and reducing risk factors for transmission of HIV through goal setting and behavioral changes. All persons, regardless of HIV status, are eligible for the CRCS program. Newly diagnosed persons are encouraged to enroll in this program. Persons may utilize this program to improve communication skills, relationships, and decision-making skills.

Counseling, Testing and Referral (CTR):provides free, confidential, rapid HIV screenings to any client who has been determined at risk for HIV infection. The CTR counselor provides a unique risk reduction counseling session to each client and has a working knowledge of community resources available. The CTR counselor will make referrals to services as needed. Educational presentations on community HIV prevention are also available through this program.

Special Populations Support Program: provides comprehensive HIV and hepatitis C testing and education to substance users, both past and present. The SPSP tester works closely with substance treatment facilities, the department of corrections, and within the community to provide services.