The LIAAC Blog

News and thoughts from the Long Island Association for AIDS Care

June 23, 2017
by Liaacinc

Dr. Gail Barouh hosts LIAAC’s Girls Day Event

By Sara Guando

Picture a CEO. Picture a business executive, a director of finance, or a panel of a company’s top leaders. What do you see? A quick Google image search of “CEO” revealed an interesting find; that only nine of the first one hundred pictures represented women, and one of those was CEO Barbie. Fortunately, this is not the case at the Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC). Led by Dr. Gail Barouh, President and CEO of LIAAC, the impressive roster of leadership and management at the agency is knowledgeable, skillful, and predominantly female.

On Thursday June 8th, Dr. Gail Barouh hosted a group of young women for an event of empowerment and education. Over a dozen motivated, ambitious girls attended the event where LIAAC’s accomplished panel of female executives, directors and management, discussed the challenges, as well as the advantages, of being a woman in a position of leadership.

Harriet Gordine-Adams, Chief Officer for Care Coordination at LIAAC, explained that this event originated during a discussion of the unique challenges female executives face and the desire to share the trials and the triumphs of being a female executive with the next generation of young ladies. She believes that it is very motivating for a young girl to see a woman in a position of power. Dr. Barouh stated that she wanted to introduce the girls to “accomplished women who came to do this work from different walks of life, at different times in their life” to show that there is no single path to success. She explained to the girls that this was a unique experience for them, as at most companies you would not see a panel of its top leaders being female.

Dr. Gail Barouh leads the discussion along with LIAAC’s panel of female executives, directors, and management.

Along with Dr. Gail Barouh and Harriet Gordine-Adams, Catherine Hart, LIAAC’s Chief Operating Officer participated at the event. LIAAC’s contributing panelists also included Marie Denis, Director of Quality Management/Compliance Officer, Michele Keogh, Director of Mobile Outreach, Jessica Totino, Director of Client Services, Julia Smith, Controller, Michelle Mainella, Director of Finances, and Carol Cutrone, recently retired Chief of Staff.

The panel did not disappoint. The discussion began with each leader telling about her own background and career. Most of the women had started as volunteers or in other fields completely. They rooted a common idea into the minds of the participating young ladies ‘there is no singular thing that defines you. If you work hard, follow your heart and stay focused, women can accomplish anything.’ Marie Denis also reminded the girls that “you can change your mind, and your path, at any time. Never get stuck.” Catherine Hart commended working at LIAAC where “there is no glass ceiling for women.”

The girls participated in a question and answer session, where they discussed skills necessary to be a good leader as well as how to balance work with personal life. Throughout the discussion, Dr. Gail Barouh offered the girls her insight on what it means to run a company, make hard decisions, and tackle obstacles. She talked about being adaptable, along with the stresses of having to make decisions that some people may not always agree with. When LIAAC was in its infancy, Dr. Barouh recalls that there were fourteen agencies in New York State that dealt with HIV/AIDS, but only three were run by women. The women had a difficult time gaining ground and funding because opportunities for advancement were often controlled by men. Dr. Barouh told the girls “it is harder to be a woman in business, and in life” but that with confidence, open-mindedness, and hard work anything is possible.

The young ladies in attendance shared their dreams for the future. Among them were wishes to be a news reporter, an animator, a doctor, lawyer, marine biologist and fashion designer. Though each child has a unique future and path, they gained from this lesson the notions of female empowerment, being supportive of one another, and to always work hard and dream big.

Catherine Hart, Chief Operating Officer, explains some of the roles and responsibilities of being an executive as the girls tour LIAAC’s building.



June 20, 2017
by Liaacinc

LIAAC Speaks to Teens About Healthy Relationships

By Kristina Robles

What is a healthy relationship? It is a question that would stump many adults. But what about those who are at the beginning of their dating experience.  On Sunday, June 11, 2017, LIAAC’s Leah Richberg joined Charlene Rogers, of Long Island Against Domestic Violence (LIADV), in speaking to local teens from the Youth Leadership Caucus (YLC) about how to build healthy relationships and the warning signs of abuse, as part of an interactive workshop for Presiding Officer and 15th District Legislator DuWayne Gregory’s inaugural Youth Leadership Summit.

According to Rogers, a staggering one-third of teens are affected by dating abuse. During the workshop, the teens learned about the many types of abuse, not just physical violence. It is going through someone’s cell phone without permission; forcing someone to stop speaking to his or her friends; or keeping track of other’s social media activity. Abusive behavior is anything that is used to gain power over someone else, or as Rogers likes to explain, anything that has “PPC”­– pattern, power, control.

LIAAC’s Leah Richberg speaks to teens from the Youth Leadership Caucus about Healthy RelationshipsDuring the discussion about the warning signs of abuse, the teens were surprised that jealousy, even a small amount, was a relationship “red flag”. Many believed that a small amount of jealousy was a sign of affection and only was a problem when it escalated into extreme behavior. Rogers explained to them that jealousy can be used as a tool to control and manipulate emotion; and warned against “quick involvement”, when the other person takes the relationship too serious, too quickly.

Richberg spoke to them about the importance of good communication and compromising, values which can be used beyond dating and into their academic and professional careers.  She talked to them about setting up boundaries and standing firm behind them, saying, “No one can make you do anything you don’t want to do.” A few of the teens admitted that they, or people they know, have been asked to do something they were not comfortable doing. Richberg showed them ways to navigate the touchy subject of boundaries with their partners or future partners.

By the end of the workshop the teens left with a better understanding of what a healthy relationship should look and feel like; how sharing your life with someone does not mean scarifying parts of it, but enhancing, lifting, and supporting each other equally.

The Youth Leadership Caucus was founded by Presiding Officer and 15th District Legislator DuWayne Gregory to encourage minority youths, grades 8-12, to become civically involved in their community. These teens come from all over the Town of Babylon and meet semi-monthly to discuss the issues that affect them. During the summit on Sunday, YLC members, and other youths from the surrounding communities, could sit in for two workshops, choosing from a variety of different topics, such as: Mental Health and Youth, Healthy Relationships, Insidious Racism, Stress Management, Environmental Strategies, Effects of Drugs on Youth, and Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media.

Other organizations that participated in the summit, along with LIAAC and LIADV, were the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission, Amityville Memorial High School, Starflower Experience, I Affirm Wellness, Suffolk County Legislature, and Suffolk County Department of Labor.

The inaugural event was a big success with dozens of local teens in attendance, all of them leaving with invaluable information they can use to build their futures and the future of our communities.

Panel speaks to the members of the Youth Leadership Caucus and local teens.

May 24, 2017
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on LIAAC Announces Chief Operating Officer’s Retirement

LIAAC Announces Chief Operating Officer’s Retirement

The Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. (LIAAC) announces the retirement of Catherine Hart, LMSW, Chief Operating Officer and 20 year agency veteran. Her last day will be June 30, 2017. Under Catherine’s leadership, LIAAC obtained over 30 million dollars in federal funding awards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Office of Minority Health (OMH). Catherine pioneered LIAAC’s Health Homes Medicaid program, which provides services to thousands of Long Islanders infected/affected with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses.

Dr. Gail Barouh, LIAAC President and CEO, praised Catherine who started as a volunteer on the HIV/AIDS hotline during the height of the AIDS epidemic. In 1997, Catherine joined LIAAC as an employee and went on to hold various agency positions until becoming COO in 2009. Beyond her work within the agency, Catherine also mentored young social work interns from Stony Brook University and Adelphi University.

As a family member of a relative who died of HIV/AIDS early in the epidemic, Catherine always brought compassion, respect, and dedication to all clients and their families.

Although her retirement is well earned and deserved, Catherine will be greatly missed by all the LIAAC staff. The Board of Directors thanks Catherine for her pioneering efforts and appreciates her many years of service to the agency and Long Island. We wish Catherine all the best in her retirement.

May 18, 2017
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on The Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) recognizes National Prevention Week

The Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) recognizes National Prevention Week

National Prevention Week takes place annually, and is dedicated to increasing public awareness of substance abuse and mental health issues. This year the event takes place May 14 -20. The three primary goals of National Prevention Week are: to involve communities in raising awareness of behavioral health issues and in implementing prevention strategies; to foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health; and to promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications. This year, Prevention Week takes place from May 14 to May 20, 2017 and the overall theme is “Making Each Day Count”.

Dr. Barouh, LIAAC’s President/CEO, states that raising community awareness about the effects of heroin overdoses starts with first, educating the community about the connection between opioid prescription drug use/misuse, heroin addiction and mental illness; second, for those in need of help, provide the necessary referral linkages to treatment and other supportive services.

Currently, the United States has been within the grip of a devastating opioid abuse crisis, one from which Long Island is not immune. According to the New York State Comptroller’s 2016 report on prescription opioid abuse and heroin addiction, Suffolk County had the highest rate of heroine overdoses of all the counties in the state. It is important that we take this week as an opportunity to speak to young people about the dangers of abusing prescription and illicit drugs, such as bodily damage, infectious diseases, and even death.

The Long Island Association for AIDS Care will be celebrating National Prevention Week by offering free and confidential testing for HIV, Hepatitis C and sexually transmitted infections. The Long Island Association for AIDS Care will also be participating in National Prevention Week’s “I Choose” Project, a social media campaign aimed at sharing personal messages about the importance of prevention and mental health.

For more information about how the Long Island Association for AIDS Care is celebrating National Prevention Week, visit our events page at, visit our website at, or call our hotline at 1-877-865-4222

May 16, 2017
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on Hepatitis Testing Day- May 19

Hepatitis Testing Day- May 19

By: Kristina Robles

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month with the 19th being Hepatitis Testing Day, a day dedicated to encouraging Hepatitis testing and education.

Hepatitis is a family of viruses that cause inflammation of the liver, most commonly the Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C virus. If gone untreated, Hepatitis could result in serious health problems, including liver cancer and cirrhosis.

The most common way that the disease is spread is by sharing needles or other injection drug paraphernalia. In recent years, America has been within the grip of a devastating opioid abuse epidemic, one to which Long Island is not immune.

New York State reported that Suffolk County had the highest heroin deaths in the state, with 111 overdoses in 2014.[i] Recent numbers have shown, that fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is surpassing heroine as Long Island’s deadliest opioid, with 220 deaths in 2016.[ii] With the rise of injection drug use (IDU), we are seeing an increase of Hepatitis C (HCV) infections, with the CDC reporting a 150% increase to the national HCV infection rate between 2010 to 2013[iii]

Here are some tips and information about Hepatitis C that everyone should know.

How Hepatitis C is Spread

HVC is spread when infected blood enters the body of someone who is not infected.

Most commonly by:

  • Sharing needles or other injection drug paraphernalia.
  • Being born to a HCV positive mother
  • Needle-stick injuries in a healthcare setting.

Less commonly, HCV can be spread by:

  • Sharing personal items that may be in contact with an infected person’s blood, e.g. razors or toothbrushes
  • Having sexual contact with an infected person
  • Unregulated tattooing and piercing

HCV is not spread by:

  • Sharing eating utensils
  • Breastfeeding
  • Hugging
  • Kissing
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing

Baby Boomers

Three out of four people with HCV were born from 1945-1965. It is believed, many Baby Boomers had been infected by contaminated blood transfusions and organ transplants, before 1992. Now, all blood and organ transplants are screened for the virus. It is important for people in this age group to get tested for HCV before the virus can damage the liver.

Acute vs Chronic

Hepatitis C can either be “acute” or “chronic”

  • Acute Hepatitis C infection is a short-term illness within the first 6 months after exposure to the virus. Most of the time, acute infections lead to chronic infections.
  • Chronic Hepatits C infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the virus remains in a body after 6 months. It can last a life time and lead to serious liver problems.


Most people who have HCV do not know they have it. Almost 80% of people with the virus show no symptoms. This is why it is important to get tested even if you feel “healthy”.

A small percentage of people may have symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Fever
  • Yellowish skin
  • Dark urine
  • Light-colored stools.

Keeping Others Safe

If you are diagnosed with HCV, always take these precautions to avoid giving the virus to others:

  • Do not share needles, syringes or other equipment (spoons, cotton, water, etc.)
  • Do not share razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers, or other items that could have blood on them
  • Clean up blood spills right away with bleach
  • Keep cuts and sores covered with a bandage.

Getting Tested

The only way to know if you have HCV is to get tested. A blood test, called a Hepatitis C antibody test, can tell if a person has been infected with the virus by looking for HCV antibodies in the bloodstream.

At LIAAC, we are helping to fight the spread of Hepatitis C, by offering HCV testing, education, and referral and linkage to medical care.

To schedule a Hepatitis C test with us, call our hotline at 1.877.865.4222. All tests are free and confidential.

[i] Office Of The New York State Comptroller. (2016 June) Prescription Opioid Abuse and Heroin Addiction in New York State. Retrieved from

[ii] Deutsch, Kevin (2016 December 28) Fentanyl Outpaces Heroin as the Deadliest Drug on Long Island. Retrieved from

[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d.) Viral Hepatitis. Retrieved from

May 5, 2017
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on LIAAC receives Grant Award from Center for Disease Control and Prevention for Young Men of Color who have Sex with Men

LIAAC receives Grant Award from Center for Disease Control and Prevention for Young Men of Color who have Sex with Men

LIAAC is excited to announce that we have been awarded funding by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for a comprehensive HIV prevention program, focusing on Young Men of Color who have Sex with Men (YMSM). LIAAC’s YMSM Alternative Prevention and Care (YMSM APAC) program will address HIV prevention with this population, who are at the highest risk of acquiring HIV. This is LIAAC’s third grant directly funded from the CDC.

Dr. Gail Barouh, President/CEO of LIAAC congratulated the hard working staff of LIAAC for once again securing funding for our clients, noting that reducing new infections among the YMSM community, through increased access and linkage to care, will improve the overall wellbeing of all Long Islanders.

Through this funding opportunity, LIAAC is proud to provide targeted testing, diligent outreach, and effective intervention programs to the YMSM community. This will mean a focus on reducing new infections, increasing access to care for HIV-positive individuals, and promoting healthy choices. Using a mobile approach of street and social media outreach, our Care Navigators will engage high risk HIV-negative persons in testing, PrEP services, and VOICES/VOCES, an interactive group discussion on condom education and safer sex. Testing will include HIV, HCV and STIs (Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Syphilis). LIAAC is excited to bring rapid Syphilis testing, as well as couples testing through this program. Individuals who are identified as HIV-positive will be linked to proper medical care, provided essential and supportive services, as well as enrolled in CLEAR (Choosing Life! Empowerment! Action! Results!), a multi-session, one-on-one program that provides individuals with education and techniques to make healthy choices and reduce the spread of HIV. YMSM APAC will also include a mentoring program, provided by an Engagement Specialist, to empower YMSM individuals and promote community leadership.

December 21, 2016
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on World AIDS Day at Stony Brook University

World AIDS Day at Stony Brook University

By: Melissa Colleary

World AIDS Day, an initiative intended to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and to support those living with HIV, is celebrated annually on December 1st. This year, LIAAC co-hosted an event with Stony Brook University’s LGBTQ* and Student Health Advisory Committee. This event took place on December 1st from 12 to 9 p.m. in the Sidney Gelber Auditorium.

Throughout the event, several organizations provided information tables for the students and staff of Stony Brook University. In attendance was The Long Island Association for AIDS Care; Stony Brook Medicine’s PrEP Services; Pride for Youth; Stony Brook University’s LGBTQ*; Mothers Against Drunk Driving; Stony Brook University’s Commuter Student Association; Campus Residences; Stony Brook University’s AIDS Peer Educators; and the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC).

At this event, LIAAC sponsored a screening of the film Rent, a musical about New Yorkers in the early 1990s struggling to pay their rent and live their lives during the AIDS epidemic. This screening was attended by approximately 70 students and staff members.

The event also featured a screening of Blood Brother, a documentary about “Rocky Braat, a young man from a fractured family and a troubled past, went traveling through India without a plan. Then he met a group of HIV positive children living in an orphanage — a meeting that changed everything for him”. Additionally, Stony Brook University’s LGBTQ* sponsored a screening of United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, a documentary about the AIDS activist movement followed by a Q&A segment with the film’s director, Jim Hubbard.

LIAAC staff from both the Education and Mobile Outreach departments provided HIV testing in the campus’s UNITI Cultural Center from 11 am to 7 pm, while Planned Parenthood provided mobile testing in the SAC Plaza from 12 pm to 3 pm. Throughout the course of this event, LIAAC performed 90 HIV tests, while Planned Parenthood completed an additional 20 for a total of 110 tested for the day.

LIAAC staff distributed over 5,000 condoms to students by conducting outreach throughout the Student Activities Center. This outreach led to several encounters with students who were both shocked and excited to see condoms being freely distributed on campus. Some students requested additional condom packs, while others inquired about LIAAC’s other services and were referred to testing.

Overall, the World AIDS Day event at Stony Brook University was a great success, exceeding testing and condom distribution goals.

To view photos and videos from our World AIDS Day events at Stony Brook University, visit our Facebook page at

December 21, 2016
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on World AIDS Day at SUNY Old Westbury

World AIDS Day at SUNY Old Westbury

By: Melissa Colleary

In honor of World AIDS Day, the Long Island Association for AIDS Care participated in a three-day celebration at SUNY Old Westbury. The events were held during the campus’s common hour, which takes place daily from 2:30-3:50 p.m., in the Atrium of the Student Center. LIAAC cosponsored this event with Student Health Services.

In addition to LIAAC, Pride for Youth; Long Island Against Domestic Violence; Five Towns Community Center; and the SUNY Old Westbury chapter of Lambda Sigma Epsilon were in attendance. During these celebrations, LIAAC provided two tables full of information, condoms, and informative games to help interact with and share information about HIV, STIs, risky behaviors, and sexual health with as many students as possible.

LIAAC’s ECHO program used a small version of a game show wheel with questions such as “What is HIV?” and “How many drinks are in a binge?” to start a conversation with students about sexual health and risky drinking behaviors. For each correct answer, the participant won a World AIDS Day themed prize, such as a lanyard with the AIDS ribbon on it, a Red Ribbon rubber duck, or a Red Ribbon mini football.

LIAAC’s ECHO program also brought a game called “Drunk Condom” to the students of SUNY Old Westbury. This activity asked participants to wear a pair of “Fatal Vision” Drunk Goggles, which were loaned to LIAAC by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and attempt to put a condom on a demonstrator to show how difficult it can be to correctly put a condom on while intoxicated.

The most common error made by students was putting the condom on upside down, with some even tearing the condom. Drunk Condom sparked several discussions about condom use and safer sex practices. As you can hear in one of the videos, one student had never tried to put a condom on before, and others were unsure how to tell if it was on correctly.

When students completed a game of Drunk Condom, a member of LIAAC staff would perform a condom demonstration, explaining each of the steps necessary to put on a condom correctly. This led to discussions about how to talk to your partner about using condoms; sexually transmitted infections that can be contracted through oral sex; how to make a flavored condom into a dental dam; how to use an internal condom; why not to use a flavored condom for vaginal or anal sex; and the benefits of using PrEP for HIV prevention.

Throughout the course of these events, LIAAC tested 15 individuals for HIV, Hepatitis-C, and STIs. Additionally, LIAAC distributed over 900 condoms during the World AIDS Day celebrations.

To view photos and videos from our World AIDS Day events at SUNY Old Westbury, visit our Facebook page at

September 16, 2016
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on 2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking

2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking

By: Melissa Colleary

On August 30, 2016, the Long Island Association for AIDS Care’s Educated Choices Healthy Options (ECHO) program hosted the 2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking at the Brentwood Public Library. This event was part of an initiative sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The ECHO Program’s 2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking involved a panel discussion of several esteemed professionals in their respective fields. These panelists included: Assemblyman Philip Ramos of the 6th Assembly District, Police Officer Elisa McVeigh of the Suffolk County Community Relations Bureau, Alexander Arias of Brentwood High School, Leah Richberg and Kavita Chadee of the ECHO program, Brittany Becker from the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Isai Fuentes and Melissa Smith of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Charlene Rogers of L.I. Against Domestic Violence, and Anthony Rizzuto of Seafield Services.

The panel discussion spanned two hours, consisting of conversations about what to do if you suspect someone you care about is involved in underage drinking, and how to address the topic with someone who does not believe underage drinking to be a problem in the community.

Having panelists from a wide array of organizations participate in this event ensured varied responses to the posed questions, which allowed for a wide spectrum of information to be shared.

The 2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking was an outstanding success on social media. The event was live-streamed on Facebook and reached 1,758 people with 621 views. For future Town Hall Meetings, the ECHO program hopes to boost physical attendance while maintaining the vast reach on social media. Those who attended the event suggested hosting a future event during the school year to increase attendance. Overall, the event was extremely effective, providing the Brentwood community with much needed resources to help combat the epidemic of underage drinking.

August 25, 2016
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on Five Reasons You Should Use a Condom (Besides Not Getting Pregnant)

Five Reasons You Should Use a Condom (Besides Not Getting Pregnant)

By: Melissa Colleary

Holding a condom

If you or your partner are using birth control, or your partner is the same sex as you, it may feel as though there is no real need to use condoms. Whether you’re at risk for pregnancy or not, condoms are still an important part of your sexual health.

1. HIV and STIs can happen to anyone

Although HIV and STIs are more prevalent in certain demographics, the reality is that HIV and STIs do not discriminate against sexual orientation, skin color, injection drug use, or economic class. All people are susceptible to contracting sexually transmitted infections.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consistent and correct condom use can reduce your risk of contracting HIV, viral hepatitis, and STIs. For condom use to be most effective they should be used correctly with every sex act.

To learn how to properly put on a condom, click here.

2. PrEP does not prevent against other STIs

While pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) does protect against HIV, it does not provide protection against other STIs, such as chlamydia, gonhorrea, and syphilis. Even if you are currently taking PrEP, you are still at risk for sexually transmitted infections if you do not consistently and correctly use condoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Syphilis continues to increase among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Recent outbreaks among MSM have been marked by high rates of HIV coinfection and high-risk sexual behaviors (such as sex without a condom, new or multiple partners, and substance abuse).

It is important to emphasize that having sex without a condom, regardless of PrEP usage, is considered to be a high-risk sexual behavior as it leaves the individual vulnerable for other sexually transmitted infections.

3. Your partner’s status might not be what you think

This one isn’t about your partner lying to you about being “clean” or having a negative HIV or STI status. It’s more likely that they just don’t know. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that of the 1.2 million people estimated to have HIV in the United States, about one in eight are unaware of their infection. Additionally, when it comes to STIs, many people do not know they are infected because STIs often have no symptoms.

If your partner doesn’t know their status, then you may not either.

High rates of undiagnosed HIV and STIs mean it is extremely important to use condoms with every sexual encounter and get tested often.

Free and confidential mobile testing is available throughout Long Island when you schedule an appointment with a LIAAC tester by calling 866-236-3448

4. You have multiple partners

While mutual monogamy can be a way to prevent against HIV and STIs, it is not for everyone. If having multiple partners is what is best for you, make sure to always use condoms. It is important to use condoms with all of your sexual partners, as choosing to have unprotected sex with just one of your partners can still result in STIs and HIV.

5. You’re not just putting yourself at risk

If you are choosing to have sex without a condom, the consequences might not only affect you. If you contract HIV or STIs from having unprotected sex and are not getting tested regularly, you are likely to spread that infection on to your partner(s).

When it comes to using condoms, it’s best to follow this rule: If you wouldn’t want someone to give you an STI or HIV, don’t leave your partners susceptible to the same.

To best protect yourself and your partner(s) against sexually transmitted infections, use condoms with every sexual encounter, know your HIV and STI status, and get tested.