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Conditions

HIV / AIDS

HIV particles budding from a lymphocyte

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The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a global pandemic and the fourth biggest killer worldwide. HIV is an incurable sexually transmitted infection that can be passed during unprotected anal, vaginal and also oral sex, via blood, semen, vaginal fluids and even breast milk. It can also be transmitted by sharing dirty needles, which places intravenous drug users at risk. Although gay men who engage in unprotected sex are a high risk group, anyone who fails to practice safe sex risks infection. A blood test (usually taken 1-3 months after the risk of infection has been identified) can detect the presence of the virus, which attacks the body’s immune system and leaves those infected susceptible to life-threatening conditions (AIDS is the latter stages of HIV when the immune system has stopped working). If you contract HIV, then counselling, regular blood tests, and a daily cocktail of drugs, which work to slow the progress of the virus and effectively manage the condition, will unfortunately become a way of life.

To find out more about HIV & AIDS there are numerous support groups:

NHS Choices
BUPA
Patient.co.uk
The Terrence Higgins Trust

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

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Hi I was wondering if anyone can help me ? I had unprotected sex a week ago and Iv started getting symptoms of HIV . High fever , Dry Cough , generally feeling really unwell . It's really making me paranoid I had a urine test few days ago to test for std's so I'm waiting for that but I'm so worried about these symptoms. :( help anyone





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Quick query- there seems to be mixed views and I am worried. What is the potential of transmission of Hiv from anal and vaginal fingering to a women when the the man has peeled skin on his finger/ cuticles, and when there is potential of superficial bleeding from the finger/cuticle (not sure if this happened) when aggravated during anal and vaginal fingering. Is this a no risk to the man still?





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If someone unprotected sex 21 years ago.2yesr ago his wife tested in tepid test as a Non REactive..and he also tested in tepid test as a Negative..is tests are accurate ?need another test ?





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I split with my partner of 10 years, 4 months ago. He was my first and the only one I slept with in all that time. 4 weeks ago I had unprotected vaginal sex with a male friend at a party. He has a bit of a reputation but I have no evidence that he has hiv. I have started to feel unwell the last few days now I am totally freaking out that I could have contracted hiv. Of course you shouldn't google these things but I am so scared. I have an appointment for sti screening this week. Any advice anyone could offer would be appreciated





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Don't be scared. I know you will be, as it is easy for me to say, as too late for me. But all I can say HIV is since the effective medication a survivable and manageable condition the same as many other conditions, illnesses, cancers are now. I am 62 and know those in their 80 with HIV and are so far fine. Also know many who live with HIV with healthy children due to the meds we have now. I hope you have by now had an HIV test and it is clear. As the only way you can tell for sure you have HIV is to have a HIV test. For the majority of people there are no symptoms at all of HIV. Even if you do have HIV your current feeling of being unwell is very unlikely to be due to HIV. But if you had unprotected sex with someone you do not know their HIV and STI status it could be a number of STIs, as some other than HIV do commonly have symptoms, or none at all. Hopefully you were lucky and I hope so. But you are doing the exact right thing in going to have a STI and HIV screen now. Really everyone sexually active should have this once a year at the very least. However most have no symptoms for HIV at first. Not until your T Cells - specifically your CD4 cells - are severely depleted. Which on average takes between 5 to 10 years after infection. But can be less and can be more. However even then symptoms are not specific to HIV and can be put down to a number of things and unless you have a test you will not know. Some do get a sero conversion illness shortly after initial infection, I did and my husband and a friend. But this will be in the first month or two, most within 3 weeks and not after 4 months. A sero conversion illness is not specific to HIV either. Often it is described as 'flu like but can range from jut swollen glands for a while, and some a slight fever and sore throat, to a nasty illness with a rash, very high temperature, vomiting, aching, diarrhea etc but also everything in between and some of these and none of these as the majority do not get anything at all and without a test none can be traced to HIV anyway. All you can do if you are worried you may have been in contact with HIV is what you are, to have a HIV test. But bare in mind not all screenings for STIs include a HIV test unless you ask for it specifically, so make sure you have asked and have had had this test too.

I had unprotected sex a lot in the 80's and 90's. I have been with my hubby for 20 years and have not been with anyone else but him. I am still worried I may have hiv, but can't seem to get any answers. I had needle stick incident at work and now have to have tests. I've rarely been ill in those 20 years. Could i still have hiv.. Thanks





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Have you had a HIV test? As an HIV test is the only way you will ever truly know. Yes it is remotely, very remotely, as I have only met two people myself - out of the thousands I talk to - that this is the case and research has shown that this is only possible for those who have some immunity to HIV that makes them immune or slow progressors. The main known immunity is due to the very rare genetic mutation - This mutation, called Delta32, keeps a protein called CCR5 from rising to the surface of the immune system’s T cells. But there are other factors that can slow your progression., However Delta32 is present in less than 1% of the population of the whole world and only of those with mainly Northern European heritage and the others far less. It is pretty certain to me you most probably not have been harboring HIV for 20 years + but that unless you have a HIV test, you will continue to worry.

Hi! I'm a 17 year old girl and I just started having sex with my boyfriend of 6 months, we are both each others firsts. For intercourse we did use protection every time (not the oral part however.) Last week I started experiencing aches and pains, dizziness, head aches, loss of appetite and fatigue, later on during that weekend I developed a sore throat. My lymph nodes are not swollen but I am a bit of a hypochondriac and I may have spent a little too much time on google and convinced myself that I have HIV. I won't have the chance to go to my youth clinic to get tested this week and I am freaking out so if someone could shed some light on this for me that would be awesome. Thanks!





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Hi, I am sorry to bother you all but I wonder if you could help me. I had unprotected sex with a guy who came inside me without my knowledge. When I realised I was scared and took the morning after pill. Around 3-4 weeks later I was at a party and think my drink got spiked. I woke up half naked and have vague memories of 2 second penetrative sex which I managed to stop and then oral. These memories are very vague so I can't be sure they are correct, and because I suffer with very bad anxiety it makes my brain wander and convince myself of stories anyway. I have been to the clinic and was open with them about what had happened. It is unlike me to do things like this and the people at the clinic were lovely and really did understand. I was tested for everything approximately 3 weeks after the incident where my drink may have been spiked. The only test that came back positive was chlamydia which I have been treated for. I have expressed concern to the doctor that I may have HIV and how scared I am about this. She has explained that from what I have told her I am low risk, and she understands that it will be multiplied in my head because of anxiety. I have been scheduled for an appointment in 8 weeks to be re-tested, but I am going insane and finding it really hard to cope. I have got mouth ulcers and the roof of my mouth is sensitive when I eat certain foods. Could this be HIV? I hope you can give me a little bit of advice as I don't think I can cope for the next 8 weeks. Thank you.





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I had unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex eight days ago and am going to get tested in two days. I never had anal sex before and my partner ejaculated inside of me for two types of sex. We only did anal once and the other acts for a total of three times. After intercourse I bled in both areas and was sore for a few days but have experienced no other side effects. To complicate matters, I had foot surgery two days later. Antibiotics were given to me prior to surgery and I broke out into a rash on my scalp and had horrible scalp itching. The elastic inside of the scalp protection cap had latex on it and I may have had an allergic reaction to it. I have talked with my sex partner and he has blood tests done regularly due to his job. When we had unprotected anal sex he did not orgasm while inside me. My sex partner does not have multiple partners and he washed his penis after we had anal sex. I am keeping in touch with my sex partner and he feels from his medical perspective that should be fine. I would much rather have a blood test and find out the news then to risk my health, partner's health or anyone else's. What is the protocol I should follow given my recent sexual experiences? gail, usa





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Just have a HIV test - simples. Also a full screening for all STIs

I've been seeing my partner for 2 months and started having unprotected sex as she was on the pill. She has had sex many times before whereas I have had it just for the first time with her. Recently I've noticed very small spots like whiteheads appear on the tip of my penis and my girlfriend has just complained about spots on her tongue that are green and white. Obviously I'm very worried. Please get back ASAP





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A week ago my new partner and I used a condom the first couple of times, but after that no protection was used and we had sex several times. I don't know him that well yet but am scared he may have been exposed to HIV after having a previous relationship with a local girl in Madagascar earlier this year. Recently my throat has become sore and I am scared I may have contracted HIV. Please advise.





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There are many symptoms that are the same for many diseases it might be something else that can be treated easilygo for the test because anxiety increases alot of symptoms and you may be depressed thans


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The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body's immune system. A healthy immune system provides a natural defence against disease and infection. Read More »

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