HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, is probably the most well-known and most feared Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). There is no current cure for HIV/AIDS but with the right treatment, one can live a normal life. Regular condom use and testing are key to avoiding the spread of this STD. Walk-in clinics, STD clinics, GPs, and private doctors offer HIV testing, some offering instant results. Today’s tests can be taken 28 days after suspected contact. Symptoms may or may not arise.
Symptoms (Men and women)
Flu-like symptoms, skin rash and swollen glands, may occur one to two months after a man or woman contracts HIV. Later symptoms include recurring yeast infections (thrush).
HIV can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, and less frequently oral sex. The virus can also be contracted by sharing needles. One can contract HIV from a blood transfusion; however, there is an extremely low risk of this happening in the UK or any other Western nation. HIV can be transmitted from mother to child during birth or breastfeeding, so every expectant mother and women planning a family should of course be tested for HIV.
A regular blood test or instant HIV test taken by a private doctor can detect HIV.
Medication is used to treat HIV, and a very wide range of drugs are currently available.