Australians can live well with HIV. Treatments have changed over time, dramatically improving the quality and length of life for someone who is HIV positive.
It is also important to have a strong support network. Evidence suggests that involving others (such as partners, doctors, counsellors, peer support workers and loved ones) can improve your mental health and wellbeing and help you maintain treatment.
ART (antiretroviral treatment)
HIV treatments are medications that reduce the amount of virus in a person’s body by preventing it from making copies of itself (multiplying). This is sometimes referred to as ART (or antiretroviral treatment).
ART treatment has transformed HIV into a manageable chronic condition (like high blood pressure or diabetes), and enables people to live long and healthy lives.
Treatment can reduce the amount of virus in a person’s body to such low levels that it is undetectable on the blood tests used to measure the amount of virus in the blood – which means the person cannot transmit HIV to others.
The sooner treatment begins after diagnosis, the greater impact it will have on controlling HIV. You are also less likely to experience illnesses related to HIV and able to reach and maintain undetectable virus levels sooner.