ABC of HIV Prevention - Safe Sex and Condoms

Written by Dr. Suvash Sahu and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Image: ABC of HIV Prevention - Safe Sex and Condoms

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is one of the most serious and deadly diseases of the modern era. Here, we talk about safeguarding ourselves from this disease.

HIV can be transmitted in three main ways. Whenever there is HIV, all three routes of transmission are equally possible. Hence, it is essential to act effectively at each level of transmission to prevent further spread.

1. Sexual transmission

  • Unprotected sex with an infected person.

2. Transmission through blood

  • Blood transfusion.
  • Use of infected needles/syringes.
  • Sharing blades/razors.
  • Tattooing, piercing of ear/nose/body parts with infected instruments.

3. Mother to child transmission

  • During childbirth.
  • Breastfeeding.


Among the above-mentioned routes, the sexual route is more common. At an individual level, one can protect oneself from HIV by the following methods. To reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV during sex, follow the ABC approach.

  • A-bstain from sex till one gets married or delay first sex (ideally, abstinence until marriage).
  • B-e faithful to one partner.
  • C-ondom use correctly and consistently.

This is especially true for the young age group. 60 % of all new HIV infections worldwide occur in young people. HIV is more prevalent than they believe it to be. So, most of them live under the dangerous notion that HIV/AIDS cannot happen to me. This is the age when they become aware of their body with the development of secondary sexual characters and may think of experimenting or showing off with disastrous results.

The Correct Use of Condom

If the condom is used correctly, it is highly effective in providing protection against HIV and also unwanted pregnancies and STDs. But, it is essential to be aware of the correct use of the condom:

  1. Use a new condom for each act of intercourse, even if it is with the same partner.
  2. Use a condom before sexual contact occurs.
  3. Correctly wear the condom over the penis - unroll the condom over an erect penis leaving space at the tip of the condom, yet ensuring no air is trapped in the condom’s tip.
  4. Adequate lubrication. On latex condoms, use only water-based lubricants. Use of oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly, Vaseline, cold cream, or baby oil can weaken the condom and result in rupture and failure.
  5. Withdraw from the partner immediately after ejaculation, holding the condom firmly to keep it from slipping off.
  6. Female condoms are also available but not very popular. It entirely lines the vagina and helps prevent HIV and pregnancy. There are two types of female condoms - FC and FC2 female condoms.


The promotion of condom use can be gauged by the efforts taken by government bodies and NGOs to ensure its easy accessibility. Condoms should be readily available to all at a reasonable cost. The placement of automatic condom dispensers in various communities at discrete places would be a big step in the right direction in promoting condom use.

For more information consult an HIV AIDS specialist online -->

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018



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