Living with HIV

Understanding about HIV has increased enormously over the last few years. HIV antiretroviral treatments are now very effective at keeping people with HIV healthy. Recent research shows clear health benefits from starting treatment as soon as you are ready. Taking antiretroviral treatment to achieve an undetectable viral load also greatly reduces the risk of passing on HIV.

Being HIV positive illustration

Being HIV Positive

Women make up more than 2,000 of the almost 30,000 people living with HIV in Australia. While HIV affects everyone differently, women often face particular challenges.

Women with HIV are diverse in terms of education, ethnicity, sexuality and where and how they choose to live their lives. There is no ‘typical’ woman with HIV because HIV is a virus that can infect anyone.

HIV antiretroviral treatments have radically improved and now offer most people with HIV a long and healthy life — working, studying, relationships, travel, having children, looking after your families, and doing all kinds of things you enjoy. While dealing with a chronic medical condition is not always easy, many women have found that staying optimistic and taking practical steps to stay physically and mentally healthy can produce great results.

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What is HIV?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that damages your immune system so your body becomes less effective at fighting off infection and other diseases. Once you get HIV, you cannot get rid of it. Fortunately, there are antiretroviral treatments which can minimise the amount of HIV in your body and limit damage to your immune system — keeping you in good health. These treatments can also greatly decrease the chances of passing HIV on to others during sex. Research for a cure is continuing but is expected to take many more years.

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