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HIV infection and AIDS treatment and prevention

HIV prevention

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.

Last reviewed: July 2017

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HIV and AIDS

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HIV is a virus that damages the immune system. It is transmitted through body fluids. Treatments are available for HIV infection, but there is no vaccine and no cure. AIDS is a late stage of HIV infection.

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Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about HIV infection and AIDS.

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In Australia, HIV is most commonly spread when having sex without a condom and when sharing needles and other injecting equipment.

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HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is an infection that attacks the immune system and weakens the bodys ability to fight infections.

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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. If you have HIV and are pregnant, or are thinking about becoming pregnant, there are ways to reduce the risk of your partner or baby getting HIV.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

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