The 1st December every year is World AIDS Day. This year is the 32nd World AIDS Day and the world has achieved so much over the past 30 years:
- The development of very effective HIV treatment has dramatically reduced the number of HIV related deaths. People with HIV can live a normal life like people without HIV.
- HIV treatment can reduce the amount of HIV in a person’s body to a very low level (called undetectable viral load) so the person with HIV cannot transmit it to his or her sexual partners. It is called U=U (undetectable = untransmissible)
- A new prevention method called PrEP can prevent people from getting HIV. PrEP is a preventive medication and people can take it every day to prevent HIV.
- Many countries, especially African countries, have more and more people getting tested and treated for HIV. The number of new HIV infections in these countries have dropped rapidly. Since 2010, there has been a 23% decline in the number of new HIV infections worldwide.
In Australia we have had more than a 20% of reduction in HIV notifications since 2014. In Queensland we had only 135 people newly diagnosed with HIV in 2019, and the number will be even lower in 2020.
However, the worrying trend is that while there has been a big reduction in the number of new HIV infections among the Australian born population, this is not the case among people born overseas. Furthermore, migrants in Australia normally get tested less and later for HIV.
HIV is a manageable chronic disease due to the availability of very effective treatments. However, it is vital for people to get tested early to prevent further transmission and to achieve better health outcomes.
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV can be transmitted through sexual contact, contact with infected blood and mother to baby (during pregnancy, at birth or breastfeeding). People with HIV normally don’t show or have symptoms for many years.
Where to get a HIV test?
As common blood tests do not include testing for HIV, you will need to ask your doctor to have a HIV blood test if you want to know your HIV status. You can get a HIV test at:
- Your GP
- Public sexual health clinics health.qld.gov.au
- Rapid clinic rapid.org.au
- Home: you can order a HIV self-testing kit at atomohivtest.com
How to prevent HIV?
There is no vaccine for HIV.
You can protect yourself from HIV by:
- Using condoms – a very effective way to prevent HIV, sexually transmissible infections and pregnancy.
- Avoid blood to blood contact
- Take HIV prevention medicine
- PrEP – all GPs can prescribe PrEP. If you do not have a Medicare Card, you can purchase cheaper PrEP at greencrosspharmacy.online.
- PEP – only used for people who have been exposed to HIV. To work PEP must be taken within 72 hours of exposure. You can get PEP from emergency departments in hospitals, sexual health clinics, or GPs who prescribe HIV treatment. You can find these GPs at ashm.org.au
The theme for World AIDS Day 2020 is ‘Now More Than Ever’ – see your GP.
Know your status – get tested, take precautions and get treated if needed.
ECCQ’s Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health Program can provide free Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and STIs information, resources and support in different languages:
Phone: 07 3844 9166
You can also contact our staff directly who speaks your language:
If you live in Cairns, you can also contact:
HIV, Viral Hepatitis, Sexual Health Coordinator
Cairns Sexual Health Service
381 Sheridan St, Cairns North, QLD, 4870
Phone: 07 4226 4760