Ask Us

Here at Ending HIV we get a lot of questions about sexual health. So, before you submit your question, check if it has already been answered. Can’t find it? Submit it below and one of our peer experts will get back to you.

Ending HIV is a sexual health campaign for gay, bisexual and other guys who have sex with guys, based in NSW, Australia. As such, we prioritise questions received in relation to these communities. If you are living overseas or in another state, there may be limits to the support we can provide. While our peers are highly knowledgeable, they can’t give specific medical advice. Whatever your concern, always seek the advice of a doctor or trained medical professional you trust.

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For how long does a person with HIV takes to die if he/ she starts treatment early?

Hi, Thanks for your question. People living with HIV who are on effective HIV treatment and sustaining an undetectable viral load (UVL) have much better health outcomes and cannot transmit HIV to a HIV negative person. Studies have also shown that starting treatment early, if not immediately after diagnosis, increases life expectancy, improves health and prevents serious illness by more than 50% compared to those who delay starting treatment. This means that people living with HIV who are on effective treatment can live healthy lives. You can read more about HIV treatment and its health impacts on our website here: https://endinghiv.org.au/tribes/hiv-poz-men/

I have read somewhere that "Drug resistance can cause HIV treatment to fail", it is exactly a line I found there. I'm seriously concerned about it: Did they mean a complete fail (I mean every HIV drug/class of drug/therapy available today can fail)? or a particular drug/class/therapy? Is there any theoretical/practical evidence that a drug resistance HIV (any kind of resistance) can cause literally every treatment or drug available totally 100% useless and ineffective like the new coronavirus? Can people with such resistances remain hopeless and hear "it's over" from the doctor?

Hi, Thanks for your question. The quote you’re referring to is most likely talking about the impacts of drug-resistant strains of HIV on HIV treatments specifically, not on other drugs and treatments. For people taking HIV treatment or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), adherence is key! It’s important to make sure you are taking your medication every day or as prescribed by your doctor in order to maximise the effectiveness of the treatment, and lower the risk of developing HIV drug resistance. You can read more about adherence to HIV treatment on Aidsmap’s website here: www.aidsmap.com/about-hiv/adherence-hiv-treatment If you are interested in finding out more information on the interactions between HIV treatment and other medications, we recommend calling your doctor or a health professional for medical advice.

I was exposed and became undetectable 11yrs ago... I’ve never missed a dose until recently. What happens if I miss 4 days of doses due to a lost delivery? Panicking.. Thanks in advance

Hi, Thanks for your question. We would recommend continuing your treatment as soon as possible. It shouldn’t be too much of a concern if it was only this recent period and that you’re not missing your doses regularly. However, we would also recommend checking in with your doctor who prescribes you your treatment and seeking further medical advice from them. You can read more about treatment and the importance of adherence here: https://www.aidsmap.com/about-hiv/adherence-hiv-treatment

Hi I have a question and I hope you can clarify it for me please. I am Australian living abroad for the last 5 years or so and been positive for more then 4 now I think. I have been taking Viraday which is the Cipla version of Atripla as this is the only medicine I can source where I am. What is the situation in Australia and as an Australian would I be able to get my yearly supply once a year if I visit back home and get my supply yearly ? And if so how do I do that and who do I need to be In touch with ? Also in terms of Medicare my Medicare has expired as I am not living there... I hope you can guide me in the right direction as I need to plan ahead thanks

If you would like to access HIV treatment when you are visiting Australia, you will have to first update your Medicare. Once your Medicare has been updated, you can visit the doctor for a script. From there, it’s up to the doctor’s discretion how much they can provide you at one time, often a supply for only 3 to 6 months. This means it will be very unlikely you will be able to receive a year’s supply from one visit. On top of this, there are laws regarding how much medication you are able to take with you overseas, which also varies from country to country. We would recommend getting in touch with Positive Life NSW at contact@positivelife.org.au or (02) 9206 2177 as they would be able to provide you with more support around your questions. You can also find their website here: https://www.positivelife.org.au/.

Recently diagnosed with HIV wat should I do

Hi, Thank you for your question. We understand this could be a difficult situation for you at the moment and hope you are receiving support after your diagnosis. It is important for you to access HIV treatment as soon as possible, which would provide you with greater health benefits. The earlier you start treatment the better. People living with HIV who are on effective treatment can also suppress the viral load of HIV in their bodies to such a low level that we call it ‘undetectable.’ People living with HIV with an ‘undetectable viral load’ (UVL) cannot transmit HIV to another person. You can access HIV treatment by getting in touch with your GP, a sexual health clinic or hospital. You can read more about HIV treatment and UVL on our website here: https://endinghiv.org.au/treat-early/all-about-treatment/. ACON also provides may HIV support services for people who have recently been diagnosed. This includes HIV counselling and one-on-one peer support, which connects you with other HIV positive people. ACON’s HIV support programs also provide free workshops called Genesis, which is a safe, confidential and supportive space for newly diagnosed guys. You can read more about ACON’s HIV Support on their website here: https://www.acon.org.au/what-we-are-here-for/hiv-support/. If you would like to find out more, you can also get in touch at (02) 9206 2000.

I'm located in cope st, I'm not from the area and have misplaced my medication trimeque. Unsure 2hat to do where to go. Very stressed anxious

Hi There, we’re sorry to hear that you have misplaced your medication and are feeling anxious as a result. The good news is, there are people who can help! You mentioned you were in cope st which we assume to be in Redfern/Cleveland, if that’s the case the first service we would recommend is RPA Sexual Health Centre. This service doesn’t require you to have medicare and will be able to see you and help you access your medication. You can find their info here: https://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/CommunityHealth/SexualHealth/locations.html Give them a call and they can walk you through the process. Another service that would be able to assist you is the Albion Centre. This is located in Surry Hills and could assist you to access medication too and also don’t require you to have medicare for them to be able to assist. There details are here: http://thealbioncentre.org.au/ Both services are safe, friendly and will be able to assist. If you do however need to speak to someone for further assistance a good person to contact is David Crawford at Positive life, his details are: DavidC@positivelife.org.au & 9206 2177 He will be happy to answer any questions you might have, otherwise the Peer Education team at ACON can also help. Just call 02 9206 2000 and ask to speak to Justin or Lionel from the Peer education team. Thanks again for your message and we hope to be in touch.

Hi, I am wondering if you support women with HIV, If not, can you help me find an org. that does?

Hi, thanks for your question. Organisations such as pozhet (https://pozhet.org.au/) and Positive Life NSW (https://www.positivelife.org.au/) are two organisations who might be better suiting to providing support for women living with HIV, where as ACON's support resources are more geared towards, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who are living with HIV.

Can I still drink alcohol while on my arvs?

Hi, Thanks for your question. Alcohol won’t interfere with your antiretroviral medication. However, consistent heavy drinking can have an impact on a person’s immune system, their liver health or their adherence to medication. For more medical advice or support, we recommend getting in touch with your doctor or health professional.

Can it be cured if found early?

Hi, Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, there is no cure at the moment for HIV. However, advancements in treatment today have meant that people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives. People living with HIV who are on treatment can also reach an undetectable viral load, and if sustained, means that they cannot transmit HIV. You can read more about treatment and UVL here: https://endinghiv.org.au/treat-early/all-about-treatment/