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HIV & AIDS health centre

HIV & AIDS overview

Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is the virus that causes AIDS. In the UK it's estimated there are around 100,000 people living with HIV, around 22% of these have HIV but are unaware they have the condition. HIV weakens a person’s ability to fight infections and cancer. HIV transmission can occur during unprotected sex or needle sharing. Symptoms of HIV vary widely, with some infected people not showing any signs or symptoms. There is no HIV cure, although medications can delay the onset of AIDS.

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Virus returns to baby 'cured of HIV'

HIV has returned in a US child thought to have been cured of the condition

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What is HIV infection?

Introduction

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The virus is passed on through blood and some bodily fluids, for example during unprotected sex, through injecting drugs, or from mother to child during childbirth. HIV damages your immune system, so you're more likely to get other infections.

You may be devastated to find out that you have HIV. But drugs can help control the virus and slow down or stop the damage it causes to the immune system. Drug treatments allow people with HIV to stay well and live relatively normal lives. If you start treatment early and keep yourself healthy, you could live almost as long as someone without HIV.

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