What is HIV?

HIV stands for Human Immuno-deficiency Virus. The HIV virus weakens the immune system by attacking the cells that help your body to fight off infections and diseases. There is currently no cure or vaccine for HIV however, there is treatment that can enable HIV Positive people to live long and healthy lives.

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV can be transmitted from one person to another person through the exchange of blood, semen and seminal fluids, vaginal secretions and anal mucus and breast milk.

Safer Sex

Practising safer sex is important for all sexually active people regardless of whether they are HIV positive or not. Using condoms protects from HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) and is also an effective way of preventing infection through sexual activity from Hepatitis B and C.


Post Exposure Prophylaxis (P.E.P.) is a treatment that can stop you becoming infected with HIV if you have been exposed to infection. For it to be effective P.E.P. needs to start as soon as possible after exposure to HIV and no later than 72 hours. P.E.P. treatment lasts for 28 days. However, P.E.P does not stop HIV transmission in 100% of instances. It can be accessed through a GUM clinic or A&E department.

Getting Tested

The only way to know if you are HIV Positive or not is to have an HIV test. HIV testing is free and confidential and you don’t have to use your real name if you prefer not to. HIV and STI testing is available at GUM clinics. Please contact us for further information or advice on options for accessing a HIV test.