HIV is now considered a long-term manageable illness, with those affected living longer, and able to continue fully with their lives.
HIV is spread through the exchange of bodily fluids. This most commonly happens during unprotected sexual contact, such as vaginal, oral and anal sex. Prevention of HIV is the most important way of controlling the spread of disease, so if you're having sex, use a condom with any new or existing partners.
People who inject illegal drugs and share needles are also at risk of catching HIV. The condition can also be spread from a mother to her unborn child.
If you're concerned about HIV you should contact your local sexual health clinic or GP practice as soon as possible or request a free and confidential STI postal test kit. Early diagnosis of HIV can make a real difference.
Post exposure treatment
If you have had a condom breakage or had unprotected sex with someone who may have HIV, free PEPSE (Post Exposure Prophylaxis after Sexual Exposure to HIV) treatment is available to prevent you contracting the virus. The sooner you receive the treatment, the better. Call 01904 721111 as soon as possible.
Living with HIV
For those living with HIV there are a number of organisations who work locally within North Yorkshire and York who can support you, your family and friends. For more information contact:
- North Yorkshire Aids Action
North Yorkshire AIDS Action provides support for people in North Yorkshire who are living with or affected by HIV.
- Yorkshire MESMAC
Yorkshire MESMAC focus on HIV prevention and sexual health promotion with gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men. They also work with the wider lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
- National Children's Bureau
A range of resources for young people who have HIV from the Children and Young People HIV Network.
- Terrence Higgins Trust
The Terrence Higgins Trust offers information, advice and support on HIV and sexual health.
- HIV Aware
A partnership between the National AIDS Trust and Durex to raise awareness and understanding about HIV.