7 Good Reasons to Start HIV Treatment Now has been developed in partnership between
Positive Life NSW and the Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service (MHAHS) and funded by NSW Health.

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Probably every sexually active person will catch some kind of sexually transmitted infection (STI) once in their life. The important thing is to treat STIs immediately. Testing regularly for STIs is crucial - especially when you have sex with different partners without using condoms. If STIs stay untreated they can lead to serious health implications. 

STIs and HIV

There are extra health risks with catching an STI when you're HIV positive. The symptoms of some STIs can be more serious if your immune system is already challenged with other infections. For people with HIV, STIs manifest differently and the treatment can be different. For example, with syphilis, you may get more complications like neurosyphilis. Neurosyphilis can involve significant brain damage if left untreated. There is also scientific evidence that a person with an untreated STI is much more likely to pass on or get HIV during sex. 

Typical symptoms of having an STI

  • pain passing urine
  • itchiness or soreness of your penis or vagina
  • abdominal pain
  • sores, warts, rashes or blisters on your penis, vagina or anus
  • unusual discharge from your penis or vagina
  • painful or swollen testicles

Where should I go to get tested?

You can just go to your regular GP or visit a sexual health centre. Most STI tests are very simple to do with a urine sample or swab, some require a blood test. 

What types of STIs are there?

For more information on all STIs please visit the STIPU website.

Chlamydia is a sexually transmissible infection caused by bacteria. Most people do not have symptoms but can still transmit the infection.

Crabs are small insects called lice that grip onto the hair in the genital area. They are shaped like tiny crabs. They usually live in pubic hair, but can also be found in chest hair, armpit hair, beards and eyelashes. Pubic lice are not the same as head lice.

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacterial which can infect the throat,  anus, urethra (urine passage), cervix (neck of the womb) and eyes.

Herpes is a sexually transmissible infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV: HSV1 and HSV2. Both types of herpes can occur on the lips, mouth, genital or anal areas, and one person can be infected  by both HSV1 and HSV2. HSV on the lips and mouth is known as cold sores and HSV on the genital and anal areas is known as genital and anal herpes.

Shigellosis is a diarrhoeal disease caused by infection with Shigella bacteria. It causes diarrhoea and is easily spread among people.

Syphilis is a sexually transmissible infection caused by bacteria. If it is not treated, syphilis can cause serious, irreversible damage.

If you have an STI - Tell your recent sexual partners anonymously




In this section of our website you will find access to all our fact sheets, resources order form and details about all our campaigns.

We strive to create a range of practical health information to support all people living with HIV - men, women and young people who might be heterosexual, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Information and education about HIV supports your informed decision making when you're faced with making everyday decisions affecting your work or play, travel or health. 


pdf10 reasons to test for STIs


pdfHIV and your Gut

pdfHIV and your Mouth

pdfHPV and Anal Cancer

pdfSex, Drugs & Hepatitis C


pdfHIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND) Booklet - Joint Adahps, NSW Health and Positive Life NSW, 2018

pdfWant the Facts: Pos-Pos Sex

pdfGet the Facts: Syphilis

To get copies of the resources we have in hard copy posted to you, please complete the Resources Order Form. You are welcome to download and print any of these resources on this page. If you have any questions or want to leave any feedback about our factsheets - please contact us.


Our Take Control campaign aims to encourage people living with HIV to take control of their health by treating your HIV early, getting medication and taking control of HIV.



A Positive Life NSW digital resource promoting choice to people living with HIV (PLHIV) when accessing their HIV medication in NSW.



Choices some HIV-positive gay men make around bareback sex with other positive guys and shares some strategies to minimise STIs while having great sex.


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