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What is it?

AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

How did I get it?

HIV is transmitted through:

  • Unprotected sex, including oral sex

  • Sharing needles, syringes or any other drug using equipment

  • Contaminated blood products (blood is screened in the UK)

If you are having unprotected sex, male or female, you are putting yourself at risk!

HIV is not passed on by everyday social contact.

What are the symptoms?

In the early years there may not be any symptoms, later on there may be a variety of symptoms, some of which can be quite unusual.

What will it do to me?

HIV will damage the body’s defence system so that it cannot fight certain infections.

Where can I go?

Your local GU Medicine/Sexual Health clinic is the best place as it is completely confidential.

Can it be treated?

We can’t get rid of the virus, but there are treatments now available that are keeping people well for longer.

If you are worried and want to speak to someone, you can contact your local GUM/Sexual health Clinic or the 24 Hour National AIDS Help Line on 0800 - 567123.

Always wearing a condom during sex will reduce the risk of becoming infected.

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