Day-to-day hygiene

Generally, hygiene precautions for people with HIV need not be different from those for anyone else. A few simple basic hygiene guidelines make good sense:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot running water after using the toilet, handling rubbish or pet waste, and before and after preparing food.
  • Wear strong rubber gloves and use hot water and strong disinfectants when cleaning up anything messy such as diarrhoea, pet droppings or manure, or when gardening or dealing with rubbish.
  • Make sure you use different cleaning cloths for kitchen surfaces and floors and for the bathroom.
  • If you have cuts on your skin, wash well under running water, encourage a bit of bleeding to flush out any germs, clean the cut with antiseptic and put a waterproof plaster over it.
  • Get medical attention if you have a deep cut.
  • Do not share toothbrushes or razors.
  • Dispose of sharp objects carefully.

There are some other circumstances where it is worth taking extra precautions: Avoid children with chicken pox if you have never been exposed to the illness before. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which may cause shingles in adults. There is a vaccine available against VZV. People with HIV, who haven’t had chicken pox or shingles, are recommended to have this vaccination.

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this section.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.