HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV weakens the immune system, which is our defence system against disease and infection.

When the immune system is damaged to a critical point, it can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), making the body more susceptible to other infections and cancers. People with HIV don’t automatically ‘have’ AIDS, especially with the advanced treatment we have access to today. Most people living with HIV in developed countries, such as Australia, will never develop AIDS.

How is HIV transmitted?

For guys, HIV predominantly exists in blood, semen, and anal and front hole fluids. HIV can be transmitted if one of these fluids from someone with HIV enters another person’s bloodstream. The virus’ ability to live outside the body is limited, so for gay guys, it’s usually transmitted by fucking or getting fucked without using a safe sex method such as condoms and through sharing drug injecting or tattooing equipment.

If you’re HIV negative and have an STI the risk of contracting HIV could be increased.

How can I tell if I have HIV?

All guys who contract HIV will ‘seroconvert’ from being HIV negative to positive. Some guys don’t get any symptoms. Others however, may experience:

  • A flu-like illness
  • Fever
  • A sore throat
  • Rashes
  • Swollen glands

HIV can take up to three months before it can be detected by tests, this is called the ‘window period’. The only way to know for sure whether you have contracted HIV, is to get tested regularly.

How do I get tested?

That’s simple. Just make a booking with your healthcare provider, sexual health clinic or doctor. If you are in NSW you can find a test site near you here.

Alternatively, if you are in Sydney you can also book a test at a[TEST] – a fast, free and confidential rapid HIV testing and STI screening service for gay guys.

What’s the importance of treatment?

There is still no cure or vaccine for HIV. However, a range of antiretroviral medications are now available. Read more about HIV treatment here.

It’s really important to be on treatment if you’re HIV positive, as this will help you maintain your health and can prevent the virus from being transmitted to other guys. If left untreated, HIV can lead to severe AIDS-related illnesses.

How can I prevent getting HIV?

We’re glad you asked. There are now lots of ways that you can choose to stay safe when having sex. Choosing a prevention strategy that suits you and your personal circumstance is crucial. Whether you choose to take PrEP, use condoms or protect yourself and your partner with UVL, it is important your choice is an informed one. And if you’re injecting drugs, the best way to prevent getting HIV is by always using sterile equipment.

If you think you may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, consider taking PEP immediately.

Fast facts about HIV

  • For guys, HIV predominantly exists in blood and semen
  • It’s usually transmitted by fucking or getting fucked without a safe sex method and through sharing drug injecting or tattooing equipment
  • Some guys don’t experience any symptoms. However, others may experience flu-like symptoms, fever, rashes, a sore throat or swollen glands
  • There’s no cure for HIV, but there are a range of advanced treatment options to help people living with HIV live long and healthy lives
  • The most effective ways to prevent HIV transmission are by using condoms, PrEP, UVL and always using clean equipment if injecting drugs