HIV is a sexually transmitted virus that attacks the body’s immune system, which provides a barrier to disease and infection.
HIV infects special cells found in your blood that fight against infection. Once infected, HIV destroys the cells making it hard for your body to fight off infections. When someone is in the later stages of HIV it is known as AIDS, when the immune system has stopped working and the person develops a life-threatening condition.
How do I know if I’ve got it?
You probably won’t know. Make an appointment at the GUM clinic and a simple blood test will find out if you’re infected or not.
How do you get it?
HIV will enter your body through fluids such as blood, semen/ sperm, vaginal fluids (including blood from your period), breast milk (from a pregnant mother). This can happen if you have unprotected sex, and sometimes through oral sex. It is also passed on through injecting drugs and from a mother to her unborn baby. Although products in the UK are specially tested/screened, sometimes it can be passed on through organ transplant, blood transfusion or blood products. This is more likely if people receive medical treatment abroad.
Can I get rid of it?
No, at the moment there is no cure for HIV/AIDS but new therapies and treatment means that infected people can manage with the illness better than they used to.
IS IT WORTH THE RISK?? HELP PROTECT YOURSELF… USE A CONDOM
Rashes, sores, burning, smelling, itching and generally feeling unwell are some symptoms that you may have an STI. BUT most people don’t have any signs or symptoms that they have an STI so always get checked!