Treatment is easier than ever

Many people newly-diagnosed with HIV — and unfortunately, some doctors who provide the diagnosis — have outdated beliefs about HIV treatments being extremely unpleasant and difficult to take. This is based on the experience of the early HIV treatments prescribed in the 1990s and early 2000s.

These days there are many different treatments. Most people will take a combination of 2-3 drugs in a single pill and experience few side effects. If you do experience side effects, we recommend talking to your doctor about trying a different combination.

There is even research testing whether an injection of a slow-release medication every few months can provide effective suppression of viral load.

Australian clinical guidelines recommend that people with HIV start treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. Protecting your health. The earlier you begin treatment, the faster you can prevent HIV from damaging your immune system, and the better your long-term health will be.
  2. Protecting others. The new science of HIV transmission is clear that people on effective treatment for at least 6 months cannot sexually transmit HIV, even when condoms are not used. As more people have suppressed viral load, we will see fewer new HIV diagnoses.