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 (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the name used to describe a number of potentially life-threatening infections and illnesses that happen when your immune system has been severely damaged by the HIV virus.
While AIDS cannot be transmitted from 1 person to another, the HIV virus can.
There’s currently no cure for HIV, but there are very effective drug treatments that enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.
With an early diagnosis and effective treatments, most people with HIV will not develop any AIDS-related illnesses and will live a near-normal lifespan.
If you’re living with HIV, taking effective HIV treatment and being undetectable significantly reduces your risk of passing HIV on to others.
You’ll also be encouraged to:
Without treatment, the immune system will become severely damaged, and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and severe infections can occur.
Anyone who has sex without a condom or shares needles is at risk of HIV infection.
There are many effective ways to prevent or reduce the risk of HIV infection, including:
For more information about HIV and AIDS, getting tested or further support, please visit the NHS website.
Send an enquiry to our friendly Healthy Sandwell team.