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High Risk Behaviors

HIV is most commonly transmitted through identifiable and preventable high risk behaviors.  These behaviors involve the sharing of blood or certain bodily fluids.  They are most frequently related to unsafe sex and needle sharing.  The steps recommended to prevent contracting or spreading HIV are simple and very effective.  Use latex condoms consistently and correctly during sexual activity, do not share drug injection equipment, if you are HIV-infected and become pregnant, see your health practitioner about special care needed to protect your baby from becoming infected, If you are planning a pregnancy, discuss your prenatal concerns with your physician prior to becoming pregnant, protect all cuts, open sores, your eyes and mouth from contact with blood, and use latex gloves when handling blood of anyone who has known HIV infection or whose HIV status is unknown to you.

Hundreds of thousands of adolescents and adults may be unaware of their HIV status and continue to engage in behavior that could jeopardize their health and that of many others. If there is any chance that you have been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex, use of intravenous drugs, or exposure to body fluids, it is best to get HIV tested.

HIV testing is available at most hospitals, family planning or sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics, community health centers, drug treatment facilities, and doctors' offices. Most testing sites offer free or inexpensive tests. Contact your local health department or health care provider for information about testing in your area.

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