For information about contraception, pregnancy options and sexual health in Victoria

HIV – Prevention and Management

on 20 Feb 2023 2:39 AM
Photo of hands holding a red ribbon, condom and pill packet on a wooden background

Last year marked 40 years since the first HIV diagnosis and the start of the HIV pandemic. Much has changed in this time: HIV is now a manageable, chronic illness, and people with HIV have the same life expectancy as those without HIV. There are highly effective and tolerable daily medications which manage the virus, and preventatives that can be taken to decrease the chance of HIV acquisition. 

Below we’ll outline some of the key terms in management and prevention of HIV that have led Australia to having a 48% decrease in HIV notifications since 2010.  


Human Immonodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that affects the immune system of the body. Over time, if HIV is not managed, you can develop severe immune deficiency - meaning your body can no longer defend itself against illnesses. This late stage of HIV infection is called AIDS - Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Like many STIs and Blood Borne Viruses, HIV can be spread through bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk. You can prevent HIV infection by:

TasP – Treatment as Prevention 

U = U – Undetectable Equals Untransmissible  

The U=U Consensus statement was endorsed by Living Positive Victoria which outlined:  

A person living with HIV who is on treatment and has an undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV. 

PEP – Post Exposure Prophylaxis  

PrEP – Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

These advances have only been made possible through community-led action, advocacy and activism, peer to peer services, education and support, harm reduction strategies and scientific and medical breakthroughs. It is important to recognise the lives lost to HIV/AIDS and the unbelievable struggles the LGBTQ+ community faced in accessing care; we honour those generations and thank them for their work. 



HIV transmission in Australia 2021, AFAO