✔ HIV continues to be a major global public health issue. So far, this virus has killed between 33.6 to 48.6 million lives (WHO, 2022).
✔ There is no cure for an HIV infection. But we can now manage living with HIV. People can now lead long and healthy lives by suppressing the virus with antiretrovirals (ARVs) (WHO, 2022).
✔ HIV is a retrovirus, it infects cells of the human immune system (mainly CD4-positive T-cells and macrophages) and destroys or harms their functioning. Infection with this virus overtime weakens the immune system, leading to immunodeficiency (WHO, 2022).
✔ HIV can be found in body fluids, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk (UNAIDS).
✔ HIV is not transmitted very efficiently, so the risk of infection through a single act of vaginal sex is low (UNAIDS).
✔ Transmission through anal sex has been reported to be 10 times higher than by vaginal sex. A person with an untreated sexually transmitted infection, particularly involving ulcers or discharge, is, on average, six to 10 times more likely to pass on or acquire HIV during sex (UNAIDS).