HIV has nothing to do with me!?

If you’re not gay or from a poor, African village, you might think HIV has nothing to do with you. And you’d be wrong. HIV infections are rising in the West, spreading through unprotected sex between heterosexuals. In some European countries, more than one third of new infections are in women. More than 65,000 Americans and Western Europeans became HIV-positive last year, adding to the more than half a million people living with HIV in Western and Central Europe, and more than one million Americans who are HIV positive. Antiretroviral therapy has improved survival rates, but it’s not a cure - and it’s not available to everyone: deaths from AIDS have tripled in Eastern Europe since 2000 due to the lack of medications, while AIDS death rates have plummeted in Western Europe and North America thanks to access to the drugs.

Until there’s a cure, prevention and protection are the keys to stopping HIV

Prevention: better be safe than sorry!

While having sex, you and your partner will only be safe if you avoid contact with every bodily fluid (blood, semen -also pre-cum- and vaginal secretions). Because of this, it’s absolutely necessary to use a physical barrier such as a condom in every sexual encounter because the skin of the mouth, vagina, penis and anus is so delicate that it might have some tiny cuts or sores that can act as an open door for HIV infection -or other STD infections.

Risky business

Of course it always pays to play safe, but there are situations that are extra risky:

  • When you are into multiple partners, the risk they might be HIV+ grows.
  • Using drugs and/or drinking lots of alcohol completely changes your perception and can make you act differently than you would when sober. Don’t kid yourself: it happens!
  • Injected drugs put you at a higher risk when you share the equipment. To be safe from HIV-infections, new, clean and sterile needles and syringes are requested for every injection.
  • Having anal sex makes you more vulnerable to get an infection, as the anus has an extremely delicate skin.
  • When you live in country with a high HIV infection rate and the access to condoms is lacking, the best you can do is not have sex. Whether this is realistic is another story, but don’t say that you haven’t been warned!

To finish, a common sense tip: use a new condom every time you have sex! Recycling is all good and well, but not when your health and that of your partner might be at stake.


You can contract HIV when blood, semen -including pre-cum- or vaginal secretions get in contact with your blood stream. Most HIV-infection cases occur from unprotected sex (vaginal, anal or oral) with a HIV+ person. But there are also other ways, like sharing needles/syringes or during pregnancy, childbirth or breast feeding if the mother is HIV +. All other social contacts are totally safe, as there are no other ways of HIV-infections apart from the ones mentioned above.
To finish, a common sense tip: use a new condom every time you have sex! Recycling is all good and well, but not when your health and that of your partner might be at stake.

Who gets HIV?

Everyone can get infected by HIV, because the virus doesn’t discriminate. The infection hasn’t stopped growing since 25 years and it affects more and more young people (almost half of the people infected last year were between 15 and 24 years old). Unprotected sex and sharing drug needles and syringes make you more vulnerable to get infected. As HIV/AIDS isn’t written on your face, it’s almost impossible to know who has the disease, so protection is always needed. at stake.

Get the Test & put your mind at rest

Geeting the HIV test is the best -and only- way to know if you are HIV +. If you think you have been at risk, get tested. A negative result will be great of course, but if it’s positive, at least you will have access to the right treatment as soon as possible -and your life with the disease will be less difficult and longer. HIV infection can be detected within three months of exposure to the virus, but it can sometimes take up to six months to detect it properly. To be 100% sure, get tested six months after the risky situation -and meanwhile, practice safe sex please! at stake.

What to do when you get your test results

First of all keep calm, worrying doesn’t really help; when you get your HIV-test results you’ll have to face them, whatever the outcome is.

1. You are HIV-

Keep on practising safe sex by using condoms properly. In drug- injection cases, you must be sure your equipment has been sterilized before using it. You should get tested again six months later to confirm your results.

2. You are HIV+

Get medical treatment as soon as possible in order to protect your health and delay AIDS from developing. The next thing to do is to contact a specialist in treating HIV, as well as find a support system which can help you psychologically. Your habits in drug consumption, alcohol drinking or smoking must decrease because they can weaken your immune system - please be good to your body. Finally, make you sure that you have not been infected by tuberculosis at the same time you got HIV (they often happen together); get tested soon, as that way you can take a successful treatment for TBC straight away.

How and when does HIV become AIDS?

HIV turns into AIDS in most of the infected people at some point, but AIDS can develop quicker or slower depending on some factors such your lifestyle or the medical treatment that you are having. You must pay attention if you smoke, drink more alcohol than recommended or have been infected with other sexual diseases as well, because all those factors can weaken your immune system.

HIV officially develops into AIDS when your T-cell count falls below 200 or 14%. - this means HIV has taken hold and caused your immune system to considerably weaken, leaving you vulnerable to more infections.

How to Use a condom

  1. Keep your condoms in a cool place.
  2. Pay attention to the expiration date; if the condom is OK, open it carefully (avoid using your teeth) and get it out of its wrapper.
  3. With your fingers, squeeze the air out of the tip of the condom and put it on the head of the erect penis, right side up (the condom, not the penis, obviously).
  4. When firmly in place, roll down the condom with your other hand.
  5. Don’t use oil-based lubricants such as vaseline, vegetable oil or body lotion, as they can damage the condom, making it unsafe.
  6. Now it’s your turn: enjoy your lovemaking! When you’re finished, don’t forget to pull your condom-covered penis out, while holding the base of the condom with your hand to prevent it from slipping off.
  7. We probably don’t have to tell you this, but don’t use a condom more than once!


DESIGNERS AGAINST AIDS (DAA) is a project of non-profit organisation Beauty without Irony and was founded in 2004 to raise AIDS Awareness in the international media and towards the general public, more specifically towards young people in the industrialised countries.

We do this by asking famous and emerging fashion designers, musicians, artists and other celebrities to create designs that we then print on items such as T-shirts, sweaters, bags, hoodies, condom boxes, ringbinders, etc. The T- shirts and sweaters of all DAA collections are made of organic cotton in a Fair Trade community in India with the help of German company Sense Organics.

The DAA logo -that is part of every item-features our website url, enabling people to find recent information on hiv/aids on the links page. We also take part in events, exhibitions, fairs and festivities and collaborate with interested artists, organisations and brands - drawing more attention to the cause as we go.