There is currently no cure for HIV. But major advances in treatment mean that many people can lead long and healthy lives, although some may experience side effects from the treatment.
HIV is present in blood, genital fluids (semen, vaginal fluids and moisture in the rectum) and breast milk.
You cannot catch AIDS. HIV causes AIDS and it is HIV that can be passed on. Being diagnosed with AIDS means different things for different people.
A person with HIV can pass the virus on to others even if they don't have any symptoms. People with HIV can pass the virus on more easily in the weeks following infection.
HIV treatment significantly reduces the risk of someone with HIV passing it on.
It may also be possible to catch HIV through unprotected oral sex, but the risk is much lower.
The risk is higher if:
Other ways of getting HIV include:
HIV lives in the blood and in some body fluids. To get HIV, one of these fluids from someone with HIV has to get into your blood.
The body fluids that contain enough HIV to infect someone are:
Other body fluids, like saliva, sweat or urine, don't contain enough of the virus to infect another person.
The main ways the virus enters the bloodstream are:
Antiretroviral drugs(ARVs) will keep the virus under control by stopping it from reproducing itself. The goal is to keep levels of HIV so low that in tests the person has an undetectable viral load.
Find out more on the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) website. Terrence Higgins Trust is the UK's leading HIV and sexual health charity.
In the UK, you can get a free and confidential HIV test at any NHS sexual health or GUM (genito-urinary medicine) clinic.
These clinics are linked into specialist HIV services, and there will be support available to you if your result is positive.
This doesn’t get rid of HIV completely, but with the right treatment and care, someone with HIV can expect to live a long and healthy life.
It is now recommended that everyone diagnosed with HIV starts treatment straight away.
Early diagnosis enables better treatment outcomes and reduces the risk of onward transmission.
People diagnosed late have a much higher risk of developing complex health conditions including HIV -associated brain impairment.
To be effective, Prep must be taken regularly, as directed. It does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections.
It must be taken within 72 hours of possible exposure to HIV.
This is a form of severe dementia which Mildmay is able to reverse in 85% of our patients, enabling them to return to independent living.
People with HAND often display symptoms that are very similar to dementia, such as memory loss, confusion, loss of a sense of self, difficulty in walking, speaking or carrying out every day tasks.
Mildmay’s specialised treatment, care and rehabilitation includes highly skilled medical and nursing care, treatment, rehabilitation and a combined range of therapies.
Mildmay is the first specialist unit aiming to provide pioneering step-down care* for the homeless population of London and the surrounding regions
With homelessness in London and other major cities across the UK increasing, there is urgent need for highly focused, specialist care of the sort that Mildmay Hospital provides.
Registered Charity no: 292058