All Posts Tagged: HIV


Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) – the big ones

If you’re sexually active, you can get an STI even if you practice safe sex most of the time.

There are many different STIs and not all of them have obvious symptoms, so there’s a chance that you or your partner could have an STI without knowing it.

Most STIs are curable and all are treatable. But if left untreated, STIs can have long-term effects on your body.

Here are the big ones you should know about.


Chlamydia is often called the ‘silent infection’ because most people don’t realise they have it.

If left untreated, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which can lead to chronic pain and infertility.

In men, untreated chlamydia can cause pain and swelling in the testicles.

Chlamydia may be treated with a single dose of antibiotics if detected early.


Syphilis is curable but, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications. A simple blood test can detect syphilis.

If you’re infected with syphilis and don’t seek treatment, you can remain infectious for up to two years.

Women can pass syphilis infection to their babies during pregnancy. This can cause miscarriage, serious birth defects in the baby or even stillbirth.


Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of infection of gonorrhoea. It may occur without symptoms, especially in women.

Gonorrhoea is treatable but can lead to infertility in women if left untreated.

With all STIs, it’s important to let your sexual partner or partners know that you have an infection so that they can be tested and treated too.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes can be spread by vaginal, oral or anal sex and through skin-to-skin contact. Recurrences of genital herpes usually become less frequent and less painful over time.

There is no cure for herpes, but treatment helps ease symptoms and prevent recurrences.

Women diagnosed with genital herpes before or during pregnancy should discuss this with their GP.

Genital warts

Genital warts are one of the most common STIs. They’re caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

There are more than 100 strains of HPV, but only certain types affect the genitals and not all cause visible warts.

Genital warts can appear around the genitals and anus or, sometimes, inside the vagina, rectum or urethra.

Hepatitis B

This is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation. It’s transmitted through contaminated blood and other body fluids.

Hepatitis B can be prevented by immunisation. This provides very good protection (about 95 per cent effective) and is recommended for all infants, young children and adolescents, and people in high-risk groups.

Untreated hepatitis B can stay in the body for a long time and lead to liver scarring (cirrhosis), liver cancer and death.

Most people with hepatitis B in Australia became infected at birth or during their early childhood in countries overseas.

Hepatitis B may be spread through unsafe sex or sharing injecting equipment.


HIV is a virus that can weaken the immune system to the point that it’s unable to control some infections.

Most people living with HIV in Australia can expect to live long, healthy lives without ever developing AIDS (the most advanced stage of HIV infection), if they’re on effective treatment.

For those at higher risk of HIV, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a medication that, when taken as prescribed, is up to 99% effective at preventing the virus.

How do I protect myself from STIs?

Condoms are the easiest, and most effective way, to protect yourself from most STIs.

It’s important to note though that condoms, even when used correctly, don’t guarantee 100 per cent protection against STIs or unplanned pregnancy.

Sex using a condom may still spread an infection if the condom doesn’t fully cover the infected area. Also, a condom may break, particularly if it hasn’t been stored properly or the right lubricant hasn’t been used.

You can check out this page for tips on safe sex.

Book in for an STI test in Pascoe Vale

If you’re sexually active, it’s important to get an STI test at least once a year.

Make an appointment straight away if you notice symptoms after having sex without a condom or dental dam, if the condom broke or slipped off during sex, or when you start a new relationship.

In most cases, a simple blood or urine sample is all that’s needed.

Source: BetterHealth

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 30 March 2022.

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Travel health Melbourne

Travel checklist: do these things before you go

Summer is an exciting time for Australians. Many of us enjoy time off work to relax, spend time with family and friends or even go on holidays.

If you’re lucky enough to be travelling overseas, follow these tips for a smooth and stress-free trip.

Research your destination

Read up on your destination before you arrive – there are countless travel websites and guide books available. You could also talk with family or friends who are familiar with the places you’ll be visiting. As you research, pay particular attention to local laws, entry and exit requirements, health issues and safety.

Register you details

Make sure you register your travel and contact details on Smartraveller. This can make it easier for the government to contact you in the case of an emergency. You can also subscribe to receive free email notifications when the information for your destinations changes.

Cover yourself with travel insurance

Organising travel insurance is an essential part of preparing for your overseas trip. If you’re uninsured, you’re personally liable for covering any medical or other costs resulting from unexpected incidents or accidents. Check you’re covered for any pre-existing medical conditions and any additional activities you plan to undertake, such as skiing or hiring a motorcycle.

Organise your passports and visas

All Australian citizens, including children, must have a valid passport before leaving Australia and maintain a valid passport while overseas. Find out early which visas you need by contacting the relevant embassy of the countries you intend to visit. Some destinations have specific entry and exit requirements, including compulsory vaccinations.

Get the right vaccinations

Your doctor can check the areas that you will visit, and recommend the appropriate vaccinations to keep you and your family safe. We have dedicated Travel Health GPs to help you with this. While we recommend making an appointment 6-8 weeks before your departure date, it’s never too late to come and see us.

Plan your medications

If you’re planning to take medicine overseas, you should:

  • Meet any legal requirements imposed by the foreign country
  • Take enough medicine to cover at least the planned length of your trip
  • Carry a letter from your doctor detailing what the medicine is, how much you will be taking, and stating that the medicine is for your personal use
  • Always leave the medicine in its original packaging so that it’s clearly labelled with your name and dosage instructions
  • Separate quantities between your luggage in case a bag goes missing.

Additional health tips

Be aware of the risk of hepatitis and HIV – practise safe sex and avoid ear-piercing, acupuncture, tattooing or dental work while travelling in destinations with lower health or hygiene standards.

Avoid temporary ‘black henna’ tattoos as they often contain a dye which can cause serious skin reactions.

Finally, if you wear glasses, take along a spare pair and/or a copy of the prescription so that they can be replaced more easily if lost or broken.

For more pre-holiday tips, check out Smartraveller.

Have a great time!

Being prepared for your overseas holiday is the first step to having a great time.

Remember, our Travel Health GPs can assist with all your travel health requirements including vaccinations. Safe travels!


Source: Smartraveller

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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HIV Melbourne

HIV and AIDS: get the facts

HIV still exists in Australia. There were 963 new HIV diagnoses in Australia in 2017.

Although this is the lowest number of diagnoses since 2010, we need to make sure this trend continues.

What is HIV?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a condition that can cause AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV and AIDS are not the same thing.

Left untreated, HIV attacks the body’s immune system making the body vulnerable to infections and medical conditions that the immune system would be normally capable of controlling.

What is AIDS?

AIDS refers to the illnesses that can develop as a result of untreated HIV or in a person where current treatments have failed. People living with HIV in Australia may still develop AIDS, but this is now rare.

HIV is a chronic condition

HIV can affect anyone. While there is no vaccine or cure for HIV, there are highly effective treatments.

People with HIV take medications on a daily basis to maintain their HIV at an undetectable level and to keep them healthy.

Today, HIV is considered a chronic but manageable condition, and people with HIV can lead long and healthy lives, with a similar life expectancy to a person who does not have HIV.

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV may be present in blood, semen, vaginal fluid, menstrual fluid, rectal fluids, and in breast milk. It may be transmitted when such fluids from a person with HIV enters the body of a person without HIV during anal or vaginal sex where preventative measures are not used. HIV may also be transmitted through the sharing of needles or through unsterile tattooing and piercing processes.

HIV is not an air-borne virus such as the flu. It cannot be passed on by hugging, kissing, shaking hands, coughing or sneezing, nor can it be transmitted through sharing toilets, washing facilities, eating utensils or consuming food and beverages handled by someone who has HIV.

How can you help prevent HIV transmission?

  • Practice safer sex, i.e. by using condoms with water-based lubricants
  • Take medication called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • Treatment as Prevention (TasP) – use of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) medicine reduces the amount of HIV in a person’s body and may lead to what is called ‘viral suppression’, reducing the likelihood of transmission of HIV to a HIV-negative person
  • Protect yourself while you travel – if you’re sexually active, take condoms and lubricant to countries where there is a high prevalence of HIV
  • Don’t share needles and personal care items (e.g. razors) as this can increase the risk of HIV being transmitted through blood
  • Get tested if you’re at risk or have known risk factors.

​​​​​​​​To learn more about the ways you can help prevent HIV transmission, please make a booking with your doctor.

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year. It raises awareness across the world and in the community about HIV and AIDS. It is a day for the community to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died of AIDS related conditions or other conditions associated with HIV.

Get tested at PVH Medical

The only way to know if you have HIV is through HIV testing, such as a blood test.

You can get a confidential test by visiting your doctor and asking for an HIV test.


Source: World AIDS Day Australia

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Call us on 9304 0500 to book in!