A person can avoid HIV infection by abstaining from sex, by having a mutually faithful monogamous sexual relationship with an uninfected partner or by practising safer sex. Safer sex involves the correct use of a condom during each sexual encounter; it also includes non-penetrative sex.
Both men and women share the responsibility for avoiding behaviour that might lead to HIV infection. They also share the right to refuse sex and assume responsibility for ensuring safe sex. In many societies, however, men have much more control than women do over when, with whom and how they have sex. In such cases, men need to assume greater responsibility for their actions.
Babies born to HIV-infected mothers can be protected against HIV infection if the mother receives antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy and at delivery. While avoiding breastfeeding seems logical when a mother is HIV-infected, the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby cannot be ignored. Exclusive breastfeeding, usually recommended during the first months of life, should be discontinued as soon as it is feasible. Replacement feeding is recommended only where it is acceptable, available, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe.