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

This is generally less common than other STIs, but is still on the increase amongst all groups. It cannot be cured but it can be treated with Antiretroviral treatment. These are drugs that slow the progression of the virus in the body and have to be taken for life. They delay or prevent development of late stage HIV infection and are helping people with HIV to live longer.

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.  Around 800 people in Liverpool are living with HIV, of which an estimated 160 are unaware that they have the infection.
Since these people are unaware that they are living with HIV, they are not accessing life-saving treatment and care, and they risk spreading infection to others.

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 or cure for HIV, but treatment can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy. If HIV is diagnosed early, when a person is fit and well, and they get treatment and care, they can expect to live a long and healthy life.

For more information about HIV visit:


Sahir House supports people of all ages living with or affected by HIV in Merseyside.