HIV basics

Fear of HIV testing

HIV is not an easy virus to catch.

Compared to how many people have sex, only a tiny percentage become HIV positive.

The chance of not getting HIV is always much higher than getting HIV. This is the case even when one partner is HIV positive and the other is HIV negative.

However, it also only takes one exposure for an infection to occur. Many new infections, perhaps most, come from people who do not know their HIV status. 

Someone who is very recently infected (within the last month or two) is at their most infectious. This is because viral load is highest in the first few months after infection.

In order to reduce new infections to zero, taking an HIV test needs to be a normal, routine part of health care.

Last updated: 1 June 2021.