HIV/AIDS

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes damage to the body’s immune system and may lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The virus is transmitted via blood, semen or vaginal fluids and may be passed on by unprotected sexual contact or sharing injecting drug equipment.

 

Symptoms

  • Often there are no symptoms of HIV – people can stay fit and well for many years and not know they have the virus.
  • Symptoms can differ from person to person and may occur several years after infection.
  • Symptoms may include night sweats, swollen lymph glands and recurrent infections.

Treatment

  • There are several different combination therapies available for HIV.

Prevention

  • Using condoms and dental dams
  • Not sharing injecting drug equipment
  • Regular sexual health checks

Note:

  • Once you have HIV you remain infectious for life.
  • HIV cannot be contracted through skin to skin contact (eg. hugging, shaking hands, sharing utensils etc).

 

This is only a brief overview and should not substitute for professional medical advice. The Melbourne Sexual Health Centre has information about HIV here:
http://www.mshc.org.au/Portals/_default/uploads/fact_sheets/hiv_antibody_test_ext_a4.pdf

 

For more information phone RhED 1800 458 752 or email sexworker@sexworker.org.au