The Basics of HIV

HIV has been on the increase in Queensland for the past decade. But, if we work together we can make HIV history in Queensland. We have the power to prevent, test and treat HIV – and everyone has a part to play.

What is HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus.

If HIV is undiscovered or untreated it can affect a person’s immune system.

What’s the difference between HIV & AIDS?

A person is only diagnosed with AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) when their immune system is badly damaged by HIV causing them to get sick from related infections or cancers.

Because treatments and diagnostics for HIV are good in Australia, people living with HIV rarely progress to AIDS.

How is HIV transmitted?

It is important to know that HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva, vomit, urine or faeces. You cannot transmit HIV by kissing, hugging, sharing eating utensils, shaking hands or any other everyday social contact.

HIV requires contact with infected blood, semen, vaginal fluid or breast milk:

  • Having sex without condoms or a condom breaking
  • Sharing needles and other drug injecting equipment
  • Other blood-to-blood contact
  • From an HIV positive mother to their baby (primarily during birth or breastfeeding)

In Australia, there is no longer a risk of contracting HIV through donated blood and blood products as all donated blood, organs, tissues and semen are screened for HIV.

You can get confidential advice any time about HIV by calling 13 HEALTH (13 43 84).

If you think you may have been recently exposed to HIV, call 13 HEALTH (13 43 84) ASAP to discuss how you can access PEP emergency treatment which may prevent infection. You must commence PEP treatment within 72 hours after your risk of exposure. Click here for more information on PEP emergency treatment .

Get the Facts

Knowing the facts is an important part of preventing HIV.

Many people fear HIV because they do not know the facts about HIV. Facts such as how HIV is transmitted or what it is like to live with HIV.

You can test your knowledge with a quick quiz on the facts, or update your knowledge by reading about some common HIV myths.

Take the Quiz
Explore the Myths

Want To Learn More?

Find where to get tested or
access PEP Emergency Treatment

You can find the HIV testing or treatment service nearest you using this simple locator tool.
In addition to the locations listed, you can also get a HIV test from your local GP.

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