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You might know that you have HIV but not know what this means, or why you take the medication you do. You might also be unsure how to talk about your condition to others. You can read more here about HIV but your team are also there to support you and can help with any other questions you have. 

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that is carried by the blood and some fluids in the body. The virus slowly damages the body's immune system meaning that the body is unable to fight infections or other diseases such as cancers.

Treatment for HIV works by reducing the amount of HIV in the body so that the immune system can continue to work. You can read more about treatment on the medication page.

There are a number of ways that you can become infected with HIV. These include:

  • Being born to or receiving breastmilk from a mother with HIV 
  • Having unprotected sex with someone with HIV 
  • Sharing injecting equipment with someone

You might have also heard people talk about AIDS when talking about HIV. This stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome and is the condition that develops when the body is unable to respond to infection or disease.

While being diagnosed with HIV or AIDS would have previously been worrying, it is now understood to be a manageable chronic condition.

You can find out more information here and here about having HIV.