What is it?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system and weakens your ability to fight everyday infections and disease.

AIDS is the final stage of a HIV infection, when your body can no longer fight life-threatening infections.

How do I get it?

HIV is most commonly passed on through unprotected sex. It can also be transmitted by coming into contact with infected blood – for example, sharing needles to inject steroids or drugs.

Most people with HIV look and feel healthy and have no symptoms. When you first develop HIV, you may experience a flu-like illness with a fever, sore throat or rash. This is called a seroconversion illness.

A simple blood test is usually used to test for an HIV infection. Some clinics may also offer a rapid test using a finger-prick blood test or saliva sample.

HIV rapid testing and HIV post sexual exposure treatment (PEP) and HIV Pre Exposure (PreP) is only available at Falcon Road (near Clapham Junction station).

There's no cure for HIV, but there are treatments that allow most people to live a long and otherwise healthy life.

Use a condom every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex.

A helpful guide about PrEP (pre-exposure-prophylaxis) can be found here. PrEP is a course of HIV drugs taken before sex to reduce the risk of getting HIV, it is effectively and freely available via NHS sexual health clinics, it is on offer to eligible patients via Falcon Road.