HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
HIV can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids, sharing needles and from mother to baby.
There are often no obvious symptoms for years. Over time, untreated HIV weakens the immune system and the body’s ability to fight life-threatening infections and cancer.
There is no cure, but there is excellent treatment available. Treatment for HIV is free for anyone in NZ, regardless of residency status. With the right treatment and care, people with HIV generally live normal, healthy lives. Effective treatment results in an undetectable viral load. Once this has been maintained for at least 6 months, there is no risk of sexually transmitting HIV.
HIV is tested by blood test. It can take up to 3 months for a test to become positive after infection, but most tests are positive by 4-6 weeks.
For further information, please visit New Zealand AIDS Foundation.