HIV stands for 'Human Immunodeficiency Virus'. It is a virus which attacks the body's immune system — the body's defence against diseases.

HIV can be passed on through infected bodily fluids, most commonly via sex without a condom, or by sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment.

There are now more people than ever living with HIV in the UK — more than 90,000 — with around a quarter of those unaware they have the virus.

Facts about HIV in the UK:
 Over 90% of people with HIV were infected through sexual contact
 HIV is not passed on through spitting, biting or sharing utensils
 Only 1% of babies born to HIV positive mothers have HIV
 You can get the result of an HIV test in as little as 20mins in some clinics

There is no vaccine and no cure for HIV, but treatment can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy, so people on HIV treatment can live a healthy, active life.

If HIV is diagnosed late, treatment may be less effective. If diagnosed early, life expectancy is normal.

We all have an HIV status:

 HIV positive
 HIV negative

Which are you?

The only one way to find out your HIV status is to have an HIV test.  This is a simple, free and confidential, blood test.  Rapid HIV testing is available, providing results in 20 minutes.  Liverpool is also participating in the national HIV home-sampling screening scheme, Find out more about testing and treatment under STIs.

Sahir House offers support and Information to individuals and families living with or affected by HIV on Merseyside.

For more information about HIV go to: