HIV is one of the most potentially damaging sexually transmitted infections. The virus is spread through sexual intercourse, as well as contaminated needles often associated with drug use; the virus can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn child. Each year, over 7,000 new cases of HIV are diagnosed.
What are the effects of HIV?
The HIV virus attacks the body’s natural defences by compromising the immune system. In the latter stages of the condition, when the immune system is heavily impacted by HIV, the patients is said to have AIDS. AIDS makes the patients more vulnerable to serious, life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, strokes, cancer and pneumonia.
Can HIV be cured?
There is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS, although there are treatments that can delay symptoms and ease existing symptoms.
How can HIV be prevented?
The spread of HIV can be prevented by practising safe sex; this involves using condoms.
Who is most at risk?
Statistics released by the NHS have shown that people from black African backgrounds and homosexual men are at most risk of developing HIV; however, everyone is at risk if they fail to practise safe sex.