Protect Yourself If You Inject Drugs
Never Share Needles, Syringes, or Other Drug Injection Equipment
- Use new, clean syringes and injection equipment every time you inject.
- Many communities have syringe services programs (SSPs) where you can get new needles and syringes and safely dispose of used ones.
- Some pharmacies sell needles without a prescription.
- Find an SSP near you.
- PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent HIV.
- If taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV from injection drug use.
- PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken as prescribed.
- Find out if PrEP is right for you.
Don’t Have Sex When You’re High on Drugs
- You’re more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors.
- If you do have sex, use condoms the right way every time.
- Learn the right way to use an external condom (sometimes called a male condom) and an internal condom (sometimes called a female condom).
If You Do Share Needles, Syringes, or Other Drug Injection Equipment, Use Bleach to Clean Them
- A disinfected syringe is not as good as a new, sterile syringe, but it can greatly reduce your risk for HIV and viral hepatitis.
- Learn how to clean your syringes [PDF – 268 KB].
Decide Not to Inject Drugs
- This is the best way to prevent getting HIV through injection drug use.
- Talk with a counselor, doctor, or other health care provider about treatment for substance use disorder, including medication-assisted treatment.