HIV

What is HIV?

HIV is a virus: the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Untreated, it causes severe damage to the immune system and is a very serious infection. With treatment, HIV has become a manageable condition, and most people should expect to have an otherwise normal life expectancy and good health. 

How is HIV treated?

HIV is treated with a combination of medications called antiretroviral therapy (ART). Treatment is safer, simpler, more effective and better tolerated than it was in the past. The needs of people living with HIV are diverse, and constantly changing. As more people age (gracefully, I’m sure) with HIV, blending HIV management with other medical needs becomes more important. 

Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) is recommended for all people with HIV now. However, there are circumstances where treatment is best delayed and careful monitoring is a better alternative. Deciding when to start and which medications to use can be done in collaboration and consultation with a skilled, experienced  medical practitioner. People living with HIV require skilled medical care, and the experience of the treating doctor is closely correlated with health outcomes in several studies. 

What do I do if I’m newly diagnosed?

For most people, a new diagnosis of HIV is a stressful experience. Getting support, information and high quality health advice are important, and everyone with a new diagnosis deserves these. 

If you are experiencing a crisis, you can find support here

How do I find a doctor? 

Dr Stuart Aitken is a specialist sexual health physician, and has been an authorized prescriber of antiretroviral drugs under the Section 100 Highly Specialized Drugs Scheme since 2000. He has extensive experience with HIV treatments, and . He has been practicing on the Gold Coast since 2003, and has cared for a high caseload of patients in that time. 

In addition to good medical care, Stuart is dedicated to providing a safe, supportive and respectful medical environment for all people living with HIV. His aim is to make HIV as small of his patients’ lives as possible, and support people living with HIV with compassion and collaboration. 

Stuart has lectured in HIV medicine at the three medical schools in Southeast Queensland, and for over ten years lectured within University of Queensland’s HIV Prescriber Course. He is a mentor for new HIV prescribers, and has supervised the training of other specialists and general practitioners. 

For more information about treatments click here

For more information about support for HIV click here

For more information about medical services in Australia click here