How much do you know
Question 1With an early diagnosis, most people with HIV can expect to live:
A person can expect to live a long and healthy life if they’re diagnosed and treated early and respond well to the treatment. Being diagnosed with HIV late and getting on to treatment late increases the time the virus has to damage the immune system. This is why it’s important to get tested regularly and know your HIV status.
Question 2In 2014, how many people in Queensland were infected with HIV through kissing, sharing a cup or coming into contact with a discarded needle in a public place?
Despite what many people believe, you can’t get HIV any of these ways.
Queensland (and Australia) has never had a case of a HIV transmission from picking up or standing on a used needle. HIV is a very fragile virus that does not survive for long when exposed to the environment.
Question 3Most HIV positive mothers on treatment give birth to healthy babies.
True, most HIV positive mothers on treatment give birth to healthy babies in Australia. Due to the effectiveness of routine antenatal HIV testing there is a very low chance of mothers giving birth to HIV positive babies.
Question 4HIV is most often passed on by people who have been diagnosed with the virus.
False, HIV is most often passed on by people who aren’t aware they have the virus. People often live with HIV for several years before they’re diagnosed and this increases the likelihood of passing it on. This is why it’s important to get tested regularly and know your HIV status.
Question 5Everyone living with HIV will eventually go on to develop AIDS.
False, HIV treatment is now so effective that very few people with HIV in Australia develop AIDS.
Question 6A person who is being treated for HIV will always pass the virus on.
False, a person living with HIV who is on effective treatment is very unlikely to pass the virus on. HIV treatment is now so effective it can reduce the level of the virus so low that it is undetectable - making it extremely unlikely to be passed on.
Question 7You’ll know if you have HIV because you’ll experience flu symptoms and feel unwell if you’re HIV positive.
False, you’ll only know your status if you have regular HIV tests. Some people recently exposed to HIV will experience flu-like symptoms, others will have no symptoms at all. There are approximately 20-30% of people living with HIV who haven’t been diagnosed and don’t know their status.
Question 8If you’ve had your blood taken and tested, you’ve been tested for HIV.
You shouldn’t assume that you’ve been tested for HIV if you’ve had a blood test for another reason. Check with your doctor to understand what your blood will be tested for, and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to add an HIV test to your blood work.
Question 9You can get the results from an HIV test in 20 minutes.
True, a free rapid HIV test is now available from many location across Queensland. It requires a drop of blood from your fingertip and you’ll get results in 20 minutes. If your results come back as reactive for HIV, you will then get an additional blood test and conclusive results will come back in about a week.
Question 10If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, there’s nothing you can do except wait 3 months and get a test.
False, starting PEP emergency treatment ASAP (but no later than 72 hours) after your risk exposure may help prevent HIV.
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You can find out more about prevention on the HIV Foundation Queensland website.