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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. 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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I’m looking to get PreP prescription and want to know which sexual health clinics in NSW I can go to that also accept bulk billing.

Hi there, thanks for your question. We'd encourage you to call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink who can provide you with information about sexual health clinics near you on 1800 451 624. They will be able to direct your call to the individual clinics that may offer PrEP scripts for those who are unable to attend a general practitioner (GP) due to Medicare ineligibility. If you can access Medicare you should be able to attend a GP across the state and request PrEP directly from your doctor, though at the time of booking we'd recommend asking about whether or not the practice provides a bulk billing service.

I was dating a guy for about 2 months. He cheated and had sex at least three times with his ex who is HIV+. Me and his ex were both penetrated by him. A condom was never used on either of us. What are my chances of contracting hiv. I got tested today, but I’ve heard HIV can take along time to show up.

Hi, Thanks for your question. If the person is HIV positive and they are taking effective HIV treatment, the viral load of HIV in their body may be suppressed to such low levels we call it ‘undetectable viral load’ (UVL). A HIV positive person with a UVL cannot transmit HIV to a HIV negative person. UVL is a highly effective HIV prevention strategy. If the ex has a UVL, then the risk of HIV being transmitted is zero. You can read more about UVL on our website here: https://endinghiv.org.au/treat-early/about-undetectable/. However, if they are not on treatment then there is a risk for HIV to be transmitted. You are right in that it does take time for a reactive result to appear in a HIV test. We call this the ‘window period’. Depending on the test, the window period can be between 2 weeks to 3 months. This is the period of time it takes for a reactive result to appear after the possible exposure to HIV. Because the window period can vary, we recommend contacting the clinic that provided you your test to confirm what their window period is. If you got tested in the window period, you will need to get tested again after the period for a conclusive result for your HIV status. We recommend to people who are sexually active to get tested for HIV and STIs 4 times a year (every 3 months) with their doctor or local sexual health clinic. You can read more about testing and the window period on our website here: https://endinghiv.org.au/test-often/all-about-testing/. You may also be interested to hear about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) which you can access in the future after any possible exposures to HIV. PEP is a 4-week course of anti-HIV drugs that prevents a HIV infection if you’ve been possibly exposed. You need to start PEP within 72 hours of the possible exposure for it to be effective. It can be found at sexual health clinics or hospital emergency departments. If you live in NSW, you can also find more info on PEP and how to access it at the Get PEP website (https://www.getpep.info/) or the PEP Hotline (1800 737 669 / 1800 PEP NOW). The risk of HIV can also be significantly reduced if other HIV prevention strategies are being used, e.g. condoms or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). You can read more about these options on how to stay safe on our website here: https://endinghiv.org.au/stay-safe/. If you live in NSW and have further sexual health questions, you can call the Sexual Health Infolink at 1800 451 624 where a sexual health nurse can answer your questions over the phone. If you are in need of further medical advice, we recommend discussing with your doctor or health professional.

Can a transexual (male to female) transmit or receive HIV through a surgically constructed vagina?

Hi, Thanks for your question. For HIV to be transmitted it requires the bodily fluids (blood, semen, front hole or vaginal fluids, rectal fluids or breast milk) from a HIV positive person who is not on treatment to enter the bloodstream of a HIV negative person. You can read about HIV and how it’s transmitted on our website here: https://endinghiv.org.au/sti/hiv/. For trans women or non-binary people who have undergone genital reconfiguration surgery and have a surgically constructed vagina, there may still be risk for HIV transmission through their vagina. Similar to anal sex, there is the risk that tears can be made inside the vagina during sex which can create points of entry for HIV infections in the body. However, this risk can be significantly reduced if an effective HIV prevention strategy is used during sex. This includes condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and undetectable viral load (UVL). We recommend to people who are sexually active to always use one of these protection strategies every time they have sex. You can read more about these options on our website here: https://endinghiv.org.au/stay-safe/. You can also refer to TransHub for more information on genital reconfiguration surgery here: https://www.transhub.org.au/grs. If you live in NSW and have further sexual health questions, you can call the Sexual Health Infolink at 1800 451 624 where a sexual health nurse can answer your questions over the phone. For any further medical advice, we recommend consulting with your doctor or health professional.

Is it worth to be on prep if I only do unprotected oral sex?

Hi there, thanks for your question. Oral sex is extremely low risk for HIV transmission, and though there is still a risk you may transmit other STIs. If you wanted to take PrEP just for oral sex, you might decide it's not necessary, however, if you ever wanted to have other types of sex and you were taking PrEP, then you would be fully protected for HIV transmission! With either scenario, it's recommended for all sexually active guys to get tested for HIV and STIs every 3 months.

Hi, I had protected sex with a female of unknown hiv status. After 2 week I fall sick with flu like symptoms, so I wait until 25 day to get tested. The test I used was HIV syphilis combo alehrer test which come out negative. I don't feel good about this. If my falling sick was seroconversion, is there a chance that my test is false. Should I get tested again ?

Hi, Thanks for your question. If you used a condom correctly during sex, then there is no risk for HIV transmission. Tests for HIV have a window period of between 2 weeks and 3 months depending on the test. The ‘window period’ is the amount of time it takes for a reactive result to appear in a HIV test after being exposed to HIV. Your test at 25 days may have happened within the window period, which means that your results may not be conclusive for your HIV status. We recommend contacting the medical centre to confirm what their window period is and if your results are conclusive. If you got tested within the window period, you will need to get tested again after the window period to confirm your HIV status. Although flu-like symptoms is one of the symptoms for HIV, HIV symptoms look very similar to many other things. In order to be sure about what may be happening to your body we recommend visiting your doctor and seeking further medical advice from them. If you live in NSW and have any further questions, you can also call the Sexual Health Infolink at 1800 451 624 where a sexual health nurse can answer your questions over the phone.

Hi my husband is hiv+ since 2007 and he's been on treatment ever since but everytime I do rapid test it comes back neg..should I be worried?

Hi, Thanks for your question. HIV today is a very different experience to what it was once understood to be. With the effective treatments that are available today, HIV is a manageable chronic health condition. A person living with HIV who is on treatment can suppress the viral load of HIV in their bodies to such low levels, we call it ‘undetectable viral load’ (UVL). People living with HIV who are sustaining a UVL can live much healthier lives and also cannot transmit HIV to HIV negative people! If your husband is taking his treatment and sustaining a UVL, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about in regards to HIV transmissions! You can read more about UVL on our website here: https://endinghiv.org.au/treat-early/about-undetectable/. However, depending on the agreement in your relationship, if you are hooking up with other people outside of your relationship, then we would recommend continuing to get tested for HIV and STIs 4 times a year (every 3 months) with your doctor or local sexual health clinic. And for those who are in monogamous relationships, we would still recommend getting tested for HIV and STIs at least once a year. If you have further sexual health questions you can call the Sexual Health Infolink at 1800 451 624 where a nurse can answer your questions over the phone.

I would like to get tested and get prescriptions for PReP but in my area of peak hill nsw and there dont seem to be any anywhere in my area

Hi there, thanks for your question. While it may seem challenging at first to find a location to test and get a script for PrEP, the good news is that any doctor, even your local GP, can do all necessary testing and writing of a script for PrEP for you. It’s worth noting though that while any doctor can prescribe PrEP, each of them will have varying levels of understanding of PrEP. So to help navigate the conversation, check out our blog article here: https://endinghiv.org.au/blog/talking-about-prep-with-your-doctor/ which includes a link to a downloadable letter with all the information that your doctor needs (such as what to screen you for and what to write on the script). It might also help to call the doctor in advance to ask their knowledge around PrEP and gauge your comfortability with them. If you have any concerns or run in to any issues with finding and talking to a doctor, you can call the NSW Sexual Health Info Link on 1800 451 624 who may be able to offer further assistance.

From the first day you get infected HIV how long till you can potentially infect someone with HIV?

Hi, Thanks for your question. A HIV positive person is most infectious when they have just seroconverted (meaning when they have just been infected with HIV). They are still infectious even if symptoms haven’t appeared yet, or even when HIV tests have yet to provide a reactive result during the window period. For people who have just been infected with HIV, we highly recommend starting treatment as soon as possible. A person living with HIV who is on treatment can suppress the viral load of HIV in their bodies to such low levels we call it ‘undetectable viral load’. A HIV person who sustains a UVL have much better health outcomes for themselves and also cannot transmit HIV to a HIV negative person. You can read more about HIV on our website here: https://endinghiv.org.au/sti/hiv/. If you live in NSW and have further questions, you can call the Sexual Health Infolink at 1800 451 624 where a nurse can answer your questions over the phone.

I know U=U, but is UVL effective even if i use Rectal Douches or have demaged rectal tissues? (without Sperm, Only Pre-cum)

Hi, Thanks for your question. A person living with HIV who is on effective treatment and sustaining an undetectable viral load (UVL) cannot transmit HIV to a HIV negative person. Rectal douching and having damaged rectal tissue should not increase the risk of HIV transmission if UVL is being used as an HIV prevention strategy. You can read more about UVL on our website here: https://endinghiv.org.au/treat-early/about-undetectable/. However, UVL is not a prevention strategy against other STIs, and over-douching or damaged rectal tissues may increase the risk of other STI transmission. Although, there are many treatments which you can access if you ever do contract an STI! We recommend having routine sexual health check-ups and getting tested for HIV and STIs 4 times a year (every 3 months) with your doctor or local sexual health clinic (and getting tested even when you no symptoms as some STIs don’t show symptoms)! If you live in NSW, you can find the nearest place to get tested here: https://endinghiv.org.au/test-often/where-to-get-tested/. If you have further questions, you can call the Sexual Health Infolink at 1800 451 624 where a nurse can answer your questions over the phone.