• HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • There is no cure for HIV, but treatment keeps the virus under control and means people can live a long and healthy life


    HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and it occurs when someone’s body has come in contact with the HIV virus and has become infected with it. The virus damages cells in the immune system known as CD4 cells, a type of white blood cell. HIV uses CD4 cells to make copies of itself and multiply throughout the body, which decreases the amount of CD4 cells as a result and further puts the immune system in danger. Once it is in the body, HIV advances rapidly, causing the symptoms of the virus to worsen over time. Without medication and proper treatment, HIV can quickly diminish the immune system and cause severe illness.

    About 80% of HIV infections in New Zealand are in men who have sex with men (MSM). This is because it is 18 times more likely to pass HIV through anal sex than from vaginal sex. The cells in the ass are much more susceptible to HIV than cells in the vagina, and both semen and rectal mucosa (the lining of the ass) carry more HIV than vaginal fluid.
    HIV is spread through unprotected sexual contact with someone with HIV.

    There is NO risk for:
    Kissing and fingering, giving & receiving oral sex in men (giving & getting blow job), giving & receiving oral sex in women (eating pussy & getting pussy eaten), and sharing sex toys
    There is only risk of transmitting HIV with these sexual acts if there is potential for the fluid of the infected person to come in contact with uninfected person’s blood, such as if the uninfected person has an open sore on or in their skin, mouth, or genitals. Still, the risk of transmitting HIV is very low.

    Risk is HIGH for:
    Vaginal sex, anal sex (top AND bottom)
    Without treatment, HIV will progress in three stages.

    Stage 1: Within 2-4 weeks after infection, flu-like symptoms occur. This is the body’s natural reaction to the sudden large amount of virus that is now in it. Reproduction of HIV infected cells happens at a high rate.

    Stage 2: HIV is still active but reproduces at very low levels. People may not have any symptoms or get sick during this time.

    Stage 3: Progression to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The immune system is severely damaged at this point, and the body is at high risk of contracting other severe illnesses.

    HIV will not progress to these stages if treatment is being taken daily.

    Get Tested

    The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. The HIV test requires a blood sample. You can go to your GP for a test, or visit these locations that offer them for free:
    • Body Positive
    • New Zealand AIDS Foundation
    • New Zealand Sexual Health Services
    • Green Lane Sexual Health Clinic


    The medicines that treat HIV are called antiretroviral drugs. There are many different classes of antiretroviral drugs that each fights HIV in a different way. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is used for treatment of HIV, and is a combination of different classes of antiretroviral drugs that is taken to control the amount of virus in the blood and to lower the chances that the virus becomes resistant to the treatment. ART is most effective when the combination of drugs is prescribed based on other health conditions and immune system strength. It is also only effective if taken every day. Otherwise, the amount of HIV in the body may begin to rise again.

    It is recommended that you start treatment immediately. Preferably the same day as you are diagnosed as this will significantly improve your long term health outcomes.

    Protect Others

    If you are living with HIV, there are many actions you can take to prevent passing it to others. You should start treatment immediately. Once the treatment controls the virus so that it is undetectable for at least 6 months you are no longer infectious and cannot pass on HIV through sex.
    Using condoms every time you have sex is the most effective way to prevent the spread of HIV. In addition, an HIV negative person can take Pre-exposure Prophylaxis medication (PrEP), which lowers their chance of becoming infected by 90%. Your risk of getting HIV from sex can be even lower if you combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods as well.

    If you think you may have been exposed to HIV (maybe the condom broke) you can access post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) within 72 hours to block HIV from replicating.
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