HIV and substance abuse/use The use and abuse of substances can lead people to have more risky sexual encounters. Drugs and alcohol cause users to lose their inhibitions and feel more confident in dangerous situations. This can lead to, for example, having sex with a stranger or engaging in more risky sexual behaviours, or perhaps not bothering to use a condom. Substances cause impaired judgement It is this weakened ability to make good decisions that means alcohol and other drugs can play a significant part in increasing the chances of passing on HIV. Click the links below for information about how to prevent the spread of HIV. HIV+ people who want advice about how to minimise risk and improve your sexual and general health click here. HIV- people who want advice about substance use/abuse and how to protect yourself from contracting HIV click here. For general advice about how to lower your sexual risk for HIV click here. Avoid risky methods of taking drugs Sharing drug preparation or injecting equipment greatly inclreases the likelihood of infection; HIV is found in blood and other body fluids, so if the previous user of a syringe was HIV+ then the needle could still have traces of their blood on it. Use new, clean needles and equipment every time to avoid the risk of contractin HIV. For more detailed information and tips for protecting yourself, click here. Live in Cornwall? Access information about your nearest needle exchange here. The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) recommends that people who inject drugs get tested for HIV every year. See our page: what I need to know about getting an HIV test.