Living with HIV
If you have HIV, there are lots of services out there which can give you advice and support.
The GUM clinic in Barnsley provides HIV support services, where their expert staff offer treatment and support to monitor your health. Click here for more information on how to get an appointment and find them.
+ve me are a support group for people living with HIV, offering confidential support and advice.
To contact them: call 07543 442547, email email@example.com , or visit their web site at
Shield - the South Yorkshire HIV support group. They offer a range of services from their offices in Rotherham and Sheffield, including counselling, support groups, alternative therapies and a gym.
Contact their Rotherham office on 0170 972 0477 or their Sheffield office on 0114 278 7916 or visit their web site at www.shield.org.uk.
The Terrence Higgins Trust is a charity which offers advice and support to people who have HIV or want to know more about it. Their web site is www.tht.org.uk.
You cannot get HIV through:
- Kissing, touching, hugging, shaking hands
- Sharing crockery and cutlery
- Coughing or sneezing
- Contact with toilet seats
- Insect or animal bites
- Eating food prepared by someone with HIV
What to do
HIV can be diagnosed by a simple blood test, which checks your blood for antibodies to HIV.
This means that you have HIV antibodies in your blood and are HIV positive. Being HIV positive means you will need to look at ways of taking particular care of your own health. It also means that you can pass on the virus to others.
- Always use a condom for vaginal, oral or anal sex.
- If you inject drugs, do not let other people use your equipment.
- Remember that you cannot pass on the virus through everyday social
- Avoid sharing toothbrushes or shaving equipment.
There are treatments that can help delay the onset of AIDS and you can discuss whether or when to start these with your consultant. This decision is important as the effectiveness of the treatment depends on starting it at the right time.
HIV / AIDS
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
It can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), which damages the body's defence system so that it cannot fight off certain infections.
There are 4 main ways to get HIV:
- By having vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom with someone who has HIV
- By using needles, syringes or other drug injecting or tattooing equipment that is infected with HIV
- From a woman with HIV to her baby (before or during birth) and by breastfeeding
- By receiving infected blood, blood products or donated organs as part of medical treatment in a country where these are not tested. In the UK all blood, blood products and donated organs are tested for HIV
Signs and Symptoms
What to look out for
Some people may have no symptoms, but they can still pass on the virus.
Symptoms may include:
- Most people with HIV look and feel healthy for a long time, so you can't tell who has the virus just by looking at them.
- There is no available vaccine against HIV.
- There is still no cure for HIV although anti-retroviral drugs have been developed, which mean that some people can stay well for longer.
- These don't suit everybody.