All about HIV, syphilis & Co.

There are often many questions about sexual health. Therefore, we have created an overview of the most common questions on this page. If you are missing any information, please contact us! We are happy to help you with your request. Otherwise, have fun browsing! 

The basic information on HIV and sexually transmitted Infections (Sexually Transmitted Infections, STI for short) is intended to provide a quick further look at the subject area.  

Frequently asked questions

HIV/AIDS

  • WHAT IS HIV/AIDS?

    HIV is the abbreviation for "Human Immunodeficiency Virus". Shortly after infection (up to 2 weeks), HIV infection is usually accompanied by flu-like symptoms (these are so non-specific that they are usually not recognized). As the infection progresses, after varying amounts of time, the immune system weakens and certain diseases appear. A person who has contracted HIV is called HIV-positive.

    HIV leads to a weakening of the immune system in the course of infection. This makes it easier for diseases to occur that a healthy organism can usually ward off. One speaks of AIDS when either defined diseases already occur and/or the immune system is severely weakened. AIDS is the abbreviation for "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome".

  • How does HIV therapy work?

    The drugs used in HIV therapy prevent HI viruses from multiplying. As a result, no new viruses are created, the immune system can stabilize and thus remains functional. With the therapies available today, AIDS no longer breaks out in HIV-positive people. However, HIV therapy cannot cure the infection. It is a lifelong therapy that must be taken constantly (daily).

    Protection through therapy: Nowadays, HIV-positive people are considered non-infectious under effective therapy. This effect is called "treatment as prevention" or the "viral load method." However, there are a few points to keep in mind. If you want to know more about these protection options, we will be happy to assist you. Just call our telephone consultation or make an appointment for a personal consultation. We are here for you.

  • How is HIV transmitted?

    An Infection most commonly occurs through one of these body fluids: Blood, semen or vaginal fluid. The highest risk therefore occurs during unprotected anal and vaginal intercourse, because the mucous membrane in the vagina and intestine offers a large "attack surface," the virus concentration in semen is high, and the anal mucosa is prone to injury. Oral sex is much less risky as long as no sperm or menstrual blood enters the mouth. If you have had unprotected sex, we strongly recommend that you get tested for HIV and other STDs.

    The level of risk of infection due to sexual intercourse without a condom depends on several factors:

    • Type of sexual practice
    • Number or frequent change of sexual partners
    • Whether other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) already exist
    • From the number of HIV-positive people in the sexual environment

    Other infection possibilities

    • Commonly used paraphernalia (e.g., injecting equipment, sniffing tubes) for drug use
    • Any kind of blood contact (e.g. also during first aid)
    • Mother-to-child transmission (mother-to-child transmission can now be virtually eliminated in Austria thanks to medical preventive measures).

    How is HIV not transmitted - what is safe?

    There is no risk of contracting HIV through normal social contacts when living with HIV-positive people.

    • Shake hands
    • Kissing, hugging
    • Swimming, sports
    • Sharing eating utensils/drinking glasses or toiletries.
    • Toilet use and much more...
  • What to do in an emergency?

    After a high risk of HIV infection, e.g. condom rupture, unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse, partners with uncertain/unknown HIV status, you should immediately contact an HIV treatment center.

    Ideally, the affected person* should visit a hospital within 1-2 hours if possible, but within 48 hours at the latest, and start PEP, which must be taken for 4 weeks.

    People* who are HIV positive and whose viral load is below the detection limit cannot transmit HIV.

    That's where you can go: 

    Klinik Penzing
    Lungenambulanz – Immunambulanz, Pavillon Leopold

    Sanatoriumstraße 2
    1140 Wien
    Tel.: +43 1 910 60 - 42 710

    Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 15:00 Acute cases: 24 hours, also on Sundays and holidays

    U3 (Ottakring)/U6 (Thaliastraße) + Bus 48A (Baumgartner Höhe)
    U4 (Unter St. Veit) + Bus 47A (Baumgartner Höhe)

    Allgemeines Krankenhaus der Stadt Wien (AKH)
    Universitätsklinik für Dermatologie – HIV Ambulanz 4 Süd

    Währinger Gürtel 18 – 20
    1090 Wien
    Tel.: +43 1 40 400 – 42 400

    Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 15:30 (registration until 12:00)

    U-Bahn: U6, Station: Michelbeuern/ AKH
    Straßenbahn: 5 und 33, Station: Lazarettgasse

    Klinik Favoriten
    Infektionsambulanz – Ambulanz für HIV Infektion, Pavillon C

    Kundratstraße 3
    1100 Wien
    Tel.: +43 1 60 191 – 24 50

    Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 13.00 (registration until 12:00)

    U1 (Reumannplatz)/ U6 (Bahnhof Meidling)+ Bus 7A (Franz-Josef-Spital)

  • Hepatitis

  • What is hepatitis?

    There are many different types of hepatitis (A, B, C, D, E). These viruses are much easier to transmit than HIV. There is no preventive protection for every type of hepatitis. Despite the possibility of vaccination against hepatitis A and B, many people still become infected with these viruses.

    Undiagnosed and accordingly untreated, these infections can lead to liver damage, the development of cirrhosis or carcinoma. The majority of people with hepatitis C are unaware of the infection - therefore only a small proportion in Europe (about 3.5%) are treated. Today, there is a very good chance of cure for hepatitis C infection with appropriate treatment. Despite the high costs, the new therapies are already paid for in some cases. In principle, early diagnosis is very important, as appropriate behavior can prevent further spread. Population groups with an increased risk of hepatitis usually also have an increased risk of HIV.

  • How is Hepatitis transmitted?

    Bei Hepatitis B kommt über Blut oder andere Körperflüssigkeiten das Virus in deinen Körper, beim: - Analsex, Blasen oder Vaginalsex ohne Kondom, gemeinsamen Verwenden von Zahnbürsten, Rasierer, Nagelscheren, etc. unsterilen Tätowieren, - gemeinsamen Konsum von Drogen.

    In hepatitis C, transmission happens through blood-to-blood contact : when:- sharing toothbrushes, razors, nail clippers, etc. - non-sterile tattooing - anal sex or vaginal sex without a condom - slamming and sharing intravenous drugs.

  • Is there a hepatitis therapy?

    In the case of hepatitis B, drug treatment depends on the severity of the course. If the body is unable to fight the hepatitis B viruses sufficiently, hepatitis B cannot be completely cured even with medication. However, by supporting the immune system in fighting the virus or suppressing viral replication, the risk of developing severe liver damage or secondary diseases can be reduced. The risk of infection can also be reduced by drug treatment.

    Bei Hepatitis C wurden in den letzten Jahren Medikamente mit völlig neuartigen Wirkprinzipien entwickelt. Sie greifen direkt an unterschiedlichen Punkten des Vermehrungszyklus des Hepatitis-C-Virus ein und werden daher als direkt antivirale Substanzen (DAAs) bezeichnet. (Mehr Informationen auf dem österreichischen Gesundheitsportal)

  • Syphilis

  • What is syphilis?

    Syphilis is a disease caused by a bacterium that can affect the entire body. Infection occurs almost exclusively through sexual contact.

  • Is there a syphilis therapy?

    Penicillin is still the drug of choice in all stages of syphilis and also during pregnancy and lactation. In case of penicillin allergy, the treating physician decides on the further course of action.

  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea

  • What are chlamydia and gonorrhea?

    Chlamydia and gonorrhea are curable, bacterial infections that can be transmitted even during safe sex. Condoms reduce the risk of infection significantly, but not completely. Untreated chlamydial infections can lead to infertility. Untreated gonorrhea infections can lead to inflammation of the internal sex organs, infertility, and joint inflammation of the fingertips.

  • How are chlamydia & gonorrhea transmitted?

    Eine Infektion ist bei allen sexuellen Praktiken möglich, bei denen es zu direktem Kontakt mit infektiösen Schleimhäuten und Flüssigkeiten kommt. Übertragung möglich:
    o bei Anal-, Vaginal- und Oralverkehr
    o bei Petting und Fingerspielen
    o bei oral-analen Kontakten
    o beim Fisten
    o durch Schmierinfektionen
    Unbehandelte Chlamydien-Infektionen können zu Unfruchtbarkeit führen. Unbehandelte Tripper-Infektionen können zu Entzündungen der inneren Geschlechtsorgane, Unfruchtbarkeit und Gelenksentzündungen an den Fingerkuppen führen.

  • Who should take a chlamydia and gonorrhea test?

    Der Abstrich wird allen sexuell aktiven Menschen empfohlen, insbesondere:

    o Männer, die Sex mit Männern haben
    o Trans*personen
    o Sexworker*innen
    o Freier*innen
    o und deren Sexualpartner*innen

  • Is there a chlamydia and gonorrhea therapy?

    The treatment is carried out with antibiotics. During treatment, sexual activity must be avoided.

  • Other infections with a sexual component

  • Other infections with a sexual component
  • Knowledge instead of prejudice - monkeypox

    What is monkeypox? 

    Monkeypox is a viral disease (zoonosis) caused by monkeypox virus.

    What are the transmission routes? 

    Person-to-person transmission is possible through direct contact with body fluids or scabs of infected people, as well as through droplet infection (in the early stages of the disease). Transmission can also occur from mother to foetus via the placenta or the birth process.

    In the majority of currently known cases, transmission between sexual partners seems to occur through close contact with infectious skin lesions during sex, especially in cases of changing and frequent sexual contact. Investigations into the sources of infection are currently underway.

    What are the symptoms?

    The incubation period is typically 6-21 days. 

    Symptoms are initially mainly very non-specific features such as fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue and swelling of the lymph nodes. After 1-3 days, skin changes develop. Smallpox-typical uniform blisters, pustules and crusts form. However, current cases show these changes (often visible only by 1, 2, 3 vesicles) mainly in the genital area. This is followed by the formation of crusts, which later fall off.

    One is also infectious during the non-specific characteristics!

    Is there a therapy?

    The treatment is prescribed by doctors, and the health authorities prescribe quarantine. People who are still vaccinated against smallpox (born before 1981) have a very high probability of being protected.

    What should I do if I suspect I am infected?

    Even in the case of non-specific features, such as fever, it is important to follow the general rules that we also know from flu or covid: get well and, if possible, do not infect anyone.

    CAUTION: Condoms are not sufficient protection because close (skin) contact in this context is already sufficient for transmission!

    Please call 1450 - they will inform you about the further procedure or contact your general practitioner, HIV or PrEP treatment provider or dermatologist with your suspicion.

    Source: Information from the BMSGPK and the City of Vienna 

    Wissen statt Vorurteile - Infofolder Affenpocken https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MMhduY-Ukg Merkblatt des BMSGPK
  • Basic information on HIV and STI

    Here you can find the most important information about sexual health in compact form in individual documents for downloading as a PDF. (Only in German!) 

    HIV/AIDS: Biomedical basics
    This information will give you an insight into the basics of HIV/AIDS.
    HIV therapy
    How does HIV therapy work?
    HIV-übertragungs-Wege
    What are the transmission routes?
    HIV protection measures
    Treatment as prevention, safer sex, safer use, etc.
    HIV-Schutz-Maßnahmen: PREP und PEP
    What is PEP, what is PrEP and how do they work?
    HIV Test / Diagnostics
    Information on the different diagnostic procedures
    STI - Allgemein
    Was sind sexuell übertragbare Infektionen und welche gibt es?
    STI - Bakterien
    Welche bakteriellen STI gibt es und wie können diese bekämpft werden?
    STI - Viren
    Welche viralen STI gibt es und wie können diese bekämpft werden
    Skip to content