What is HIV?
HIV or the "Human Immunodeficiency Virus" is a virus that attacks cells in the immune system. If left untreated it can mean you are more likely to get a range of infections or diseases that normally you would be able to fend off. You can also pass HIV on to other people. We now have the tools to stop HIV, but it takes each of us to make it happen. The most common way to get HIV is by having unprotected sex with someone who doesn’t know they have it. Find out more on the NHS website here.
What is AIDs?
You cannot get AIDS as a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), it is a result of untreated HIV. AIDS is a syndrome or range of symptoms, that may develop in time in a person with HIV who does not receive treatment. A person can have HIV without developing AIDS, but it is not possible to have AIDS without first having HIV. Find out more about the difference between HIV & AIDs on the NHS website.
HIV does not discriminate. Anyone can get HIV. It was once believed that HIV was a disease that only occurred within the gay community, but now we know that anyone who has sex, without using a condom, can get HIV. It is important to be tested regularly, especially if you think you may have been at risk.
How can you stay protected?
Condoms, when used correctly and consistently, can help protect against HIV, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and unplanned pregnancies.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication that someone without HIV can take. It will stop them from getting HIV during sex without a condom. It is highly effective at preventing HIV, but it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or unplanned pregnancy. Find out more about PrEP.
By getting yourself tested regularly, you can help stop the spread of HIV. The sooner you get tested, the better it is for your health. If you have HIV for a long time without knowing, it can damage your health and shorten your life. It’s a good idea to test at least once a year (or more if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner). Testing for HIV is free, fast, confidential, and simple. You can find out when you should get tested, which HIV test is best for you, and where you can get tested here.
How do I get tested?
Find out about how you can get tested at the Students' Union here, as well as how to get tested in Newcastle.