HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) affects the immune system. A number of community groups offer a rapid finger prick HIV test, were you get your results in 20 minutes. HIV is a treatable infection, although not curable at present.
Mencap and National AIDS Trust have developed an easy to read and understand leaflet on HIV.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) affects the immune system. It is the virus that can lead to AIDS if it is left untreated.
The HIV virus is passed from person to person during unprotected sex. This includes anal, vaginal and on rare occasions, oral sex.
The virus can also be transmitted by sharing injecting equipment for drug use. Sometimes a mother can pass HIV on to her baby during childbirth and/or breast feeding.
If you have been infected with HIV you might not actually show symptoms or signs of the infection. You might experience flu-like symptoms when you are first infected. This is called the seroconversion illness, or primary HIV infection.
Symptoms of the seroconversion illness to look out for include headaches, high temperature/fever, skin rash, muscle aches and pains, diarrhoea, sore throat and fatigue.
After the first stage of HIV has passed, you may not experience any symptoms for several years. The HIV may go undetected and it will multiply. During this time it can be passed on to other people. This means that it is important to get tested for HIV after unprotected sex, as you could have the virus and be passing it on to other people without your knowledge.
Your immune system will be affected by HIV, leading to life-threatening infections and/or cancers unless the virus is diagnosed and treated with antiviral tablets.
We offer a rapid finger prick HIV test, where you can get your results in 20 minutes (click here for details).
This is also offered in sexual health clinics. However, they usually offer a blood test which is then sent to the laboratory. Results are available within five working days.
If your test is positive, you will be referred to the HIV specialist clinic.
Even though HIV is not curable at present, it is a treatable infection. If you are diagnosed early before your immunity is damaged, you should be able to lead a healthy life because treatments for HIV are very good. If you are HIV positive, the earlier you get tested and are diagnosed, the better the physical outcome.
*HIV patients receiving treatment and care need to ring 3926762 for all enquiries.
This guide to HIV for men who have sex with men will provide you with information about HIV – its symptoms, treatments and prevention.
You can listen to our audio resource on HIV here.
We have produced short audio podcasts on HIV and surrounding issues in an easy to understand format:
Click here to listen to the podcasts in English.
Click here to listen to the podcasts in French.
Click here to listen to the podcasts in Luganda.
Click here to listen to the podcasts in Shona.
Click here to listen to the podcasts in Swahili.
Click here to listen to the podcasts in Yoruba.