The best way to prevent HIV infection is to:
- use condoms and a water-based lubricant for anal and vaginal sex
- never share needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
- make sure all tattooing, piercing and other procedures use sterilised equipment.
If you have HIV infection, you are expected to prevent the infection of others and notify anyone who is at risk of exposure from you:
- Tell people you have sex or take drugs with. Your doctor can help you decide who may be at risk and help you to contact them either personally or anonymously.
- Tell anyone you intend to have sex with about your HIV status (even when you use a condom). This is required by law in some states.
If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about starting antiretroviral treatment which can prevent the infection passing to the baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Read more about HIV and pregnancy.
HIV and AIDS treatment
There is no vaccine or cure for HIV infection. However, there are effective treatments available that can help prevent the progression to AIDS and help ensure a near-normal life expectancy.
Improvements in treatment now mean that HIV infection is a manageable chronic disease for many people in industrialised countries like Australia.
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Last reviewed: July 2017