Positive Talks 2

What not to ask someone living with HIV

Pozhet Hero Video – What not to ask someone living with HIV

Common misconceptions about HIV

What does undetectable viral load mean?
HIV medication (antiretroviral treatment, or ART) works by reducing the amount of HIV virus in the blood to undetectable levels. This means the levels of HIV are so low that the HIV virus is under a certain minimum level measured by a viral load test. This is called having an undetectable viral load or being undetectable.
It can take up to six months for some people to become undetectable from when they start treatment. The majority of people who take their treatment as prescribed become undetectable. Most people living with HIV have a regular viral load test.
If someone is undetectable can they pass on HIV?
Medical evidence shows us that if you are undetectable you cannot pass on HIV to sexual partners. Studies demonstrate that HIV medication and being undetectable greatly reduces the risk of HIV transmission through sharing injecting equipment. However, we don’t have enough evidence to establish that people with an undetectable HIV viral load cannot transmit HIV through needle sharing.
If someone is undetectable will they still test positive for HIV?
People with an undetectable viral load will still test positive for HIV. However, as long as they take HIV medication they can have another test which indicates how much virus is in their blood and whether they have an undetectable viral load.
If someone with HIV kisses me or licks me will I get HIV?
No HIV cannot be transmitted by saliva whether or not the person is taking HIV treatments.
Most daily activities pose no risk of HIV transmission. Only certain body fluids can spread HIV — blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and to a much less degree breast milk. It can’t be transmitted via saliva, sweat, skin, or urine.

Alice's Story

Alice was a young mum of two when she learned that she had contracted HIV.

The diagnosis upended her life; impacting her health outcomes and isolating her from friends and family. This changed, she said, when she discovered Pozhet.

Pozhet is a service hosted by our District that provides support, information and advice to heterosexuals at risk of HIV, heterosexuals living with HIV and healthcare professionals in NSW. As the service celebrates its 30th anniversary, Alice shares her experience here.