There are a range of strategies that people can use to reduce or eliminate the risk of HIV transmission.
In recent years, these approaches have been complemented by new biomedical approaches, including post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) – a 28 day course of antiretroviral administered after an incident of suspected HIV exposure; and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) – the use of antiretroviral medication by HIV-negative people to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV.
The use of antiretrovirals by people with HIV has also been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of onward transmission of the virus (known as ‘treatment as prevention’).
Mother to child transmission is now rare in Australia, due to careful antenatal monitoring, treatment with antiretrovirals, and postnatal care and support.
Male circumcision, which has been found to be effective in lowering the rate of HIV transmission among heterosexuals in Africa, is not considered a relevant HIV prevention tool in Australia.
Due to screening, the Australian blood supply is regarded as safe.