HIV and AIDSOverview

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.

overview

HIV is a virus that damages your immune system. If not treated, it can cause AIDS, where you become too weak to fight off life-threatening infections.

symptoms

HIV often starts with a flu-like illness. After that, you might have no symptoms for many years, but the damage to your immune system continues.

causes

HIV is spread through body fluids like semen, vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk. In the UK, it's mainly caught by having sex without a condom.

treatments_overview

There's no cure for HIV, but medicines called antiretrovirals can control the virus and prevent further damage.

prevention

You can reduce your risk of HIV by using a condom for sex and not sharing needles or syringes.

Page last reviewed: 03/04/2018
Next review due: 03/04/2021