What is AIDS?
Without treatment, the immune system will become severely damaged and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and severe infections can occur. This is known as late-stage HIV infection or AIDS. With early diagnosis and treatment, most people with HIV will not develop AIDS.
How is HIV spread?
It's most commonly caught by having sex without a condom or from blood to blood contact when sharing needes or from medical treatment (such as blood transfusions) in a country where infection control is inadequate. It can also be passed from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
You cannot catch HIV from sharing cups, from toilet seats, sweat or urine.
If you think you may be at risk of HIV through unprotected sex (sex without a condom), you should have an HIV test as soon as possible at the Integrated Sexual Health Service.
Most HIV tests in the UK involve taking a small sample of blood. Depending on the type of blood test you have you may get the results in minutes, hours, days or weeks.
The earlier you have a test and find out if you have HIV the earlier you can start treatment that will help you live a long and healthy life.
If you know you have HIV you can use a condom to stop you from passing it on.
Medication, known as antiretrovirals, work by slowing down the damage caused to the immune system, and need to be taken every day.
If you’ve had unprotected sex with somebody who you know is, or highly suspect is HIV positive, you can reduce your chances of acquiring HIV infection by taking post-exposure prophylaxis after sexual exposure (PEPSE). PEPSE is available for up to 72 hours but is more effective when taken as soon as possible after a potential exposure to the virus.
If you think that you need advice on PEPSE please visit the Integrated Sexual Health Service on the 3rd Floor of the City of Coventry Health Centre, Stoney Stanton Road, CV1 4FS. (Opposite the City College) between the hours of 9.00am and 4pm (9.00am -3pm on Wednesdays and Fridays) or A&E outside of these hours. The Service is free and completely confidential.
Anyone who has sex without a condom or shares needles is at risk of HIV infection. Prevent HIV - get tested and use a condom
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Contraception, pregenancy testing, the morning after pill and STI advice and treatment through appointments - telephone and online and drop ins. Full information on session opening times available.
The C-Card offers FREE condoms and Chlamydia screening for 13-25 year olds living in Coventry
A Condom will protect you from a pregnancy and most Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) find out where to get FREE condoms
When you have sex, both of you are responsible for protecting yourselves against pregnancy and STIs.
What are they? and where you can go to get tested and treated and stay safe in complete confidence
You can make an appointment online or you can go to a drop-in clinic (which means you can just turn up).
No information will be passed on to anyone like your parents, teachers, GP/family doctor or social worker without your knowlege.