Thanks to antiretroviral HIV medication, known as ‘treatment’, a HIV positive person can live a long and healthy life – no different to someone who does not have HIV. People living with HIV may have additional health conditions – for more information about these other health conditions, visit the Your Body Blueprint website. When taking ‘treatment’, a person’s viral load (the amount of the HIV virus in their body) can be reduced to the point of what we describe as ‘undetectable’. This means that the treatment has lowered their viral load and in turn dramatically reduced the risk of them transmitting the virus during unprotected sex.
Treatment is most effective when taken as soon as possible after a positive diagnosis. The START Study has returned evidence that confirms the benefits of starting antiretroviral treatment immediately after diagnosis.
There are a variety of HIV treatments available, and the decisions about starting treatment and what treatments to take should always be done in consultation with a doctor with expertise in HIV management. Find out more information on the HIV Test & Treatments website.
Travelling and HIV medications
Understanding how to get access to HIV medications – whether for treatment or as PrEP – is important for people who travel. Australian residents are entitled to ‘immediately necessary medical and public hospital treatment’ under reciprocal health care agreements with a number of countries, as are people visiting Australia from select countries. For information regarding these agreements visit the Medicare website. Medicare also recommends taking travel insurance in case your situation is not covered by these agreements. Insurance is strongly recommended for the United States of America where the cost of health care is extremely high.