HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus which attacks the body's immune system - the body's defence against diseases. When someone is described as living with HIV, they have the HIV virus in their body.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A person with HIV is considered to have developed AIDS when the immune system is so weak it can no longer fight off a range of diseases with which it would normally cope.

HIV can be passed on through infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids, rectal secretions or breast milk.

There is no cure for HIV, but treatment can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy. People on HIV treatment can live a healthy, active life – although some may experience side effects from the treatment. If HIV is diagnosed late, treatment is likely to be less effective.

Today there are more people than ever before living with HIV in the UK, but many people think they don't know anyone with HIV. But one in four people living with HIV don't know they have it, and even if someone does know they are HIV positive, they may not feel able to tell you.


•A quarter of people with HIV in the UK don't know they are infected
•For someone diagnosed with HIV today at 35 (the average age of diagnosis in the UK) life expectancy is over 72
•The most common treatment today for someone diagnosed with HIV early is one or two pills a day
•Lots of people with HIV work and their HIV does not affect their working life
•HIV is not transmitted through normal everyday contact at work, school or in social situations
•HIV is not transmitted by biting, scratching or spitting
•With the right medical help, 99% of HIV positive women give birth to healthy babies without passing on HIV
•HIV affects all ages – one in five people living with HIV in the UK are over 50 and last year one in ten people diagnosed were aged 16 to 24

• SAHIR HOUSE - 0151 708 9080 A multi-cultural support and information centre on Merseyside. Local area support workers to provide supported living service

• TERRANCE HIGGINS TRUST - National charity

• Book of Support Organisations throughout UK (North West) available for reference at the Carers Centre




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