HIV and AIDS
Prevention and treatment
HIV: human immunodeficiency virus
AIDS: acquired immune deficiency syndrome
AIDS is a severe weakening of the body’s own defence system triggered by HIV. AIDS makes the body defenceless against many pathogens which a healthy human is able to combat without any difficulty. Diseases caused by a weakening of the body’s own immune system (opportunistic infections) will ultimately result in death if left untreated.
Consequently, it is very important to know in good time whether a person has been infected with HIV. A human being can only be infected by HIV with certain body fluids which contain a large quantity of the virus:
- seminal fluid,
- vaginal secretions and
- maternal milk
The risk of infection is greatest with unprotected sex and the shared use of needles in drug use.
If you have questions about HIV or AIDS, you can contact both outpatient and hospital doctors as well as community health authorities, advice centres or AIDS counseling centres in Saxony. At these locations, you will be able to find out whether you have been exposed to a risk of infection, you will be able to ask questions which are troubling you and you will be able to address your fears and anxieties.
If it is discovered during the consultation that you have actually been exposed to the risk of HIV, an HIV test will clarify the situation. It is up to you to decide whether to have an HIV test. An HIV test may not be done without your knowledge and consent.
If you want to rule out the possibility that you have been infected with HIV, the test should be carried out no sooner than three months after the last situation in which you were at risk. The advisor will also know about the possibilities of protecting yourself against HIV (and other sexually transmitted infections) and will also know what help is available and what medical treatments exist.
Certain doctors and outpatient departments in Saxony are authorised to provide treatment. In emergencies, if immediate HIV post-exposure prevention is necessary, it is recommended that you go to the A&E department of a hospital. Condoms (also known as preservatives or rubbers) can prevent HIV infection. You can obtain condoms from supermarkets, pharmacies, chemists, many garages and vending machines.