Key Facts about HIV

1) Having an HIV test could save your life.

If you have HIV, the earlier you know about it the better. Treatment is excellent at delaying and preventing the onset of AIDS, but it is not as successful if the test is taken so late that the disease is already very advanced.

2) There is an emergency treatment that can be taken to reduce risk of transmission of HIV.

If you have had a high risk of exposure to HIV, you can get free emergency treatment from an Infectious Disease Clinic. This can reduce your chance of acquiring the infection. Called Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), it must be taken within 72 hours to be affective.

3) HIV treatment is free

Anyone testing HIV positive is entitled to free HIV care and treatment. The best place to receive this is at a specialised clinic where specially trained doctors will manage your care and advise you if and when treatment is needed.

4) Not everyone who is HIV positive needs treatment straight away

If you are HIV positive you usually only need to start taking treatment when blood tests indicate that your immune system has become very low as a result of the virus. Many people who are HIV positive do not require treatment, but attend clinics for regular blood tests to monitor the situation.

5) HIV testing is free and confidential

Your HIV clinic won’t tell anyone that you have had an HIV test without your permission.

6) Mother to baby transmission of HIV can be prevented in nearly all cases

The use of anti-HIV treatment, having a caesarean delivery, and not breastfeeding can reduce the risk of a mother passing on HIV to her baby to less than 1%.

7) People with HIV can now live a longer, healthier life

Even though there’s no cure for HIV, doctors are now hopeful that you can live a more or less normal lifespan if you take a combination of anti-HIV drugs.

8) You could still pass on HIV to somebody else even when taking treatment

Even though treatment may reduce the amount of virus in the blood, it is still possible to pass on HIV while on treatment. Condoms will effectively prevent transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

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Read about one woman’s brave story in “Still Standing, An Irishwoman’s Story of HIV & Hope” 



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