HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes failure of part of the immune system. The immune system is important because it defends the body from infection and disease. HIV infects and destroys key cells in the body. It particularly targets a cell called CD4 (also known as a T4 cell, or T-helper cell). CD4 cells are an essential component of the immune system which it is important in protecting the body against infection and disease.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) refers to a range of specific illness that people with HIV may get when their immune system is badly damaged. These illnesses include infections and cancers.
The presence of HIV in the body is not an AIDS diagnosis. Having HIV in your body does not mean you have AIDS. It is possible to have HIV for many years but show no symptoms that define AIDS.
HIV is only infectious in blood, cum (semen, spunk), pre-cum, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. A person can only become infected with HIV if one of these bodily fluids containing HIV gets into their body and passes into their bloodstream. For gay men, the main ways in which this occurs is through unprotected anal sex (fucking and being fucked without a condom) or sharing injecting equipment during drug use. For HIV positive men the presence of other STIs increases the levels of HIV in semen, and therefore increases the risk of HIV transmission. Similarly, HIV may be present in genital ulcers caused by other STIs at levels high enough for HIV transmission to occur. For HIV negative men having another STI can cause inflammation in the site of infection or ulcers, which increase the chance of picking up HIV.
Signs and Symptoms
HIV seroconversion is the term used to describe the process when someone goes from being HIV negative to being HIV positive. This usually happens within 3 months of infection.
Some people show no signs of HIV infection. Others experience seroconversion illness which can include flu-like symptoms, fever, rashes, a sore throat and swollen glands.
Here in New Zealand most people living with HIV live full and productive lives on anitretroviral medications. Some people who experience a late diagnosies may go on to develop an AIDS defining illness.
The NZAF FASTest for HIV is an antibody test. Antibodies are the immune system’s response to infection. It takes on average 3 months for the body to produce antibodies. So if an antibody test is done during this window period it is likely to show up negative. Any test done in New Zealand is a presumptive test and must be confirmed by a Western Blot test.
You can book a free HIV FASTest here it takes just 20 minutes.
There is no vaccine or cure for HIV, but there are numerous HIV treatment options available. Treatment for HIV is currently provided by highly active anti-viral therapy (HAART). These medications attack the virus at different points and stages in its life-cycle.
A list of anitretrovirals can be found here (please note that not all meds listed are available or funded in NZ).
When used correctly condoms are by far the most effective way to prevent HIV being picked up or passed on.
For HIV negative men, giving oral sex (cock-sucking) is considered low risk. Having cuts or sores in your mouth, having an STI in your throat or having had recent dental work increases the risk. During these times, using a condom, avoiding getting cum in your mouth, or avoiding oral sex altogether will lower the risk.
For HIV positive guys, having an STI will increase the chances of passing on HIV when receiving oral sex (when someone sucks you off). Getting tested regularly and not cumming your partner’s mouth will reduce this risk.
HIV Update 2012: