What is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
HIV damages the immune system over time. This can mean that, without treatment and care, a person with HIV is at risk of developing serious infections and cancers that a healthy immune system would fight off.
The good news is that HIV is easily preventable and current treatment for HIV ensures people living with the condition can have long, healthy lives.
HIV treatment can’t get rid of HIV completely but works by reducing the amount of HIV in the body so the immune system can improve. Once the HIV is undetectable in the blood it is untransmittable.
The main ways HIV can be passed on to someone else are;
- during unprotected anal, vaginal and oral sex
- by sharing injecting equipment
- From a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth or through breastfeeding
But there are ways of preventing HIV infection in all of these situations.
If you have had any of these potential risks an HIV test can tell you quickly and easily if you have HIV.