HIV Frequently Asked Questions

7 OUT OF 10 Regret their first sexual encounter

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HIV

What is HIV?

HIV is a virus. Many people do not know that they have HIV. About 80% of all new people told they have HIV have caught it from someone who didn't know they had HIV.

How do you get HIV?

The most common way to get HIV is from having sex without a condom.  But you can get it from sharing an infected needle or from medical treatment in a country where infection control is poor.

Only gay men catch HIV?

Most of the new people told they had HIV in 2013 were not gay, about a third were women. Anyone who has or has had sex without a condom or shares or has shared needles is at risk of HIV.

Why is it important to get tested early?

If you start treatment at the right time it will help you live a long, healthy and active life. If you know you have HIV you can use a condom to stop  you passing it on.

If you get HIV you'll die soon, won't you?

New treatments mean that HIV is no longer thought of as a death sentence. People with HIV can live long, healthy and active lives if they get tested and treated early.

Is HIV testing and treatment free to everyone in the UK who needs it?

Yes, HIV testing and treatment are free to everyone in the UK.

It takes months before you can have a test and get the results.

No, you can test for HIV at anytime. You can take a test four weeks after infection and the results can take between 60 seconds and two weeks, depending on the type of test you take.

My HIV test results won't be kept confidential?

Most HIV testing in the UK is done in a sexual health clinic that legally cannot show your details and test results. If a GP does your test your results will be in your medical records but won't be talked about to anyone else unless it is about your treatment.

How can I protect myself and others from HIV infection?

Always use a condom when having sex, they are free from the C-Card if you are 25 or under and the Integrated Sexual Health Service if you are over 25. Never share needles.

What do I do if I think I am at risk of HIV?

If you think you are at risk i.e. the condom broke or you didn't use a condom you should have an HIV test. If you have a new partner support them to attend for a screen with you, so that you can be aware of each other's HIV status and have a safe and honest relationship.

If you think you are at risk of HIV don't wait or do nothing - please get tested!

Just contact the Integrated Sexual Health Services, 3rd Floor, City of Coventry Health Centre, Stoney Stanton Road, Coventry CV1 4FS - 0300 020 0027.

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