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".
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.
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...
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:
Lungenambulanz – Immunambulanz, Pavillon Leopold
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
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
Infektionsambulanz – Ambulanz für HIV Infektion, Pavillon C
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)