Key Facts about HIV
There is now a medication called PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) available which reduces the risk of contracting HIV. This is taken before the exposure to HIV – for instance, a person who does not have HIV would take PrEP before having sex with a person who has HIV. There is also a medication called PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) which is taken after exposure to HIV (within 72 hours – but the sooner it is taken, the more effective it is!) that can prevent HIV infection. Like any medication, PrEP and PEP must be taken correctly to work effectively, so please make sure you follow the instructions given by healthcare professionals.
To learn more about PrEP, visit https://www.sexualwellbeing.ie/sexual-health/sexually-transmitted-infections/information-on-hiv/information-on-hiv.html
1) Having an HIV test could save your life.
If you have HIV, the earlier you know about it the better. Treatment is excellent at delaying and preventing the onset of AIDS, but it is not as successful if the test is taken so late that the disease is already very advanced.
2) There is an emergency treatment that can be taken to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV.
If you have had a high risk of exposure to HIV, you can get free emergency treatment from an Infectious Disease Clinic. This can reduce your chance of acquiring the infection. Called Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), it must be taken within 72 hours to be effective.
3) HIV treatment is free
Anyone testing HIV positive is entitled to free HIV care and treatment. The best place to receive this is at a specialised clinic where specially trained doctors will manage your care and advise you if and when treatment is needed.
4) HIV testing is free and confidential
Your HIV clinic won’t tell anyone that you have had an HIV test without your permission.
5) Mother to baby transmission of HIV can be prevented in nearly all cases
The use of anti-HIV treatment, having a caesarean delivery, and not breastfeeding can reduce the risk of a mother passing on HIV to her baby to less than 1%.
6) People with HIV can now live a longer, healthier life
Even though there’s no cure for HIV, doctors are now hopeful that you can live a more or less normal lifespan if you take a combination of anti-HIV drugs.