All A to Z Topics

HIV and AIDS

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Introduction
HIV is a virus most commonly caught by having unprotected sex or by sharing infected needles and other injecting equipment to inject drugs.
Symptoms of HIV
Symptoms of early HIV infection, also called primary HIV infection or seroconversion, and AIDS (late-stage HIV infection).
Causes of HIV
Information about the causes of HIV, how it spreads, who's most at risk and its origins in Africa.
HIV testing
Many people newly infected with HIV have no signs or symptoms at all. You can only be certain you have HIV if you have an HIV test.
What are the treatment options?
Treatments for HIV, including post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), antiretrovirals (ARVs), HIV and pregnancy, sperm washing, side effects and getting support.
Preventing HIV
HIV is passed from one person to another through the direct exchange of bodily fluids. This can happen through unprotected penetrative vaginal or anal sex.
Living with HIV
Information and advice for people living with HIV, including tips on staying healthy, reducing your risk of illness and getting support.
'Many HIV-positive women assume they'll pass on HIV to their baby, but that's not the case these days'
Sarah has HIV. She describes her pregnancy and the steps she had to take to ensure she’d have a healthy baby. An expert explains what HIV is and how to avoid passing it on to your unborn child.
'It can happen to anyone. It's not just a gay disease'
Clint was diagnosed with HIV when he was 17. The infection progressed to AIDS within six months, which is unusually rapid. Clint died on April 4 2010, aged 31.
'If it wasn’t for HIV, I wouldn’t be where I am today.'
Tina Middleton caught HIV when she was just 20 years old from a partner with haemophilia.
'Having HIV is not the end of the world'
Mick Mason, who has haemophilia, caught HIV and hepatitis in the early 1980s from contaminated blood products.
'Things have moved on a lot since I was diagnosed with HIV'
Michael Edwards contracted HIV in 1990. He is now 62 and is still working and leading a healthy life. “The first sign was a bad dose of flu. Like me, my GP is
See what the doctor sees with Map of Medicine
See what your doctor sees, find out what is happening with your HIV treatment and what the next steps might be.