HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). HIV damages the immune system leading to serious infections.
Reported HIV cases have begun to increase in recent years. More than a quarter of those diagnosed in 2009 were acquired heterosexually.
Left untreated, infection with HIV can lead to the development of AIDS, which has so far led to over 6,700 deaths in Australia.
HIV is spread by anal or vaginal sex without a condom, from mother to baby (during childbirth or breastfeeding) and by sharing needles. In rare cases HIV is spread through oral sex and sharps injuries.
HIV is not spread through kissing, sharing cups and cutlery, normal social contact, toilet seats or mosquitoes.
Always use a condom with water-based lubricant to avoid getting HIV/AIDS More on condoms