Treating HIV

Treatment options for HIV have come a long way and with the right treatment most people living with HIV can expect to live long, healthy lives. If you act quickly after being exposed to HIV, it’s even possible to prevent the infection.

PEP Emergency Treatment

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If you think you may have been recently exposed to HIV, accessing PEP emergency treatment ASAP may prevent infection.

You must commence PEP emergency treatment within 72 hours after your risk exposure so act quickly and call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) to discuss if this is the right option for you.

PEP is post-exposure treatment involving a four-week course of HIV medication that must be taken at very specific times. There may be some side effects, but it’s crucial to stick with the prescribed routine so the medication has the best chance work effectively.

PEP is available free from most public hospitals or from sexual health clinics. Use this simple locator tool to find your closest location for PEP access. You may find it useful to print out this PEP EMERGENCY CARD  to take with you.

Remember that while PEP (when taken correctly) has a very good chance of preventing HIV, it’s not guaranteed to work. You’ll need to take a HIV test after your course of PEP to check your status.

ARV Treatment

ARV (antiretroviral) treatment enables people living with HIV to lead long, healthy lives. New forms of ARV treatments stop the HIV virus from multiplying and can relieve the immune system and let it recover.

There can be some side effects to ARV treatment, but they differ from person to person and some newer treatments can cause no side effects at all. It’s uncommon to experience serious side effects, but if you do, your doctor can adjust your treatment.

Starting Treatment

Starting treatment for HIV as early as possible will improve your long term health prospects.

Starting treatment late increases the time the virus has to damage the immune system.

When you start treatment, you’ll continue to have regular blood tests to monitor the load of HIV virus in your system. The aim of treatment is to make your HIV undetectable, which will benefit both you and your partners.

Having an undetectable viral load means that the risk of passing on the HIV virus is very low.

Along with other prevention methods like condoms, being undetectable can offer effective protection against HIV.

Cost Of Treatment

HIV ARVs are subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for anybody with a Medicare card.

If you are not eligible for Medicare, you may still be able to access treatment. We recommend speaking with your doctor and getting in touch with your local HIV support service.

You can find out more about treatment on the Queensland Positive People website.

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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