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This months Omega Health’s focuses on HIV and AIDS

What is HIV/AIDS?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is the virus that causes the HIV infection. The abbreviation “HIV” can refer to the virus or to the HIV infection.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is the most advanced stage of the HIV infection.
HIV attacks and destroys the infection-fighting CD4 cells of the immune system. The loss of CD4 cells makes it difficult for the body to fight infections and certain cancers. Without treatment, HIV can gradually destroy the immune system and advance to AIDS.

How is HIV spread?

HIV is spread through contact with certain body fluids from a person who has HIV. These body fluids include:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Pre-seminal fluid
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Rectal fluids
  • Breast milk

The spread of HIV from person to person is called HIV transmission. The spread of HIV from a woman with HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding is called mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

How can I reduce my risk of getting HIV?

Anyone can get HIV, but you can take steps to protect yourself from the HIV infection.

  • Get tested and know your partner’s HIV status
  • Avoid risky sex and unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Limit your number of sexual partners
  • Get tested and treated for Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Talk to your health care provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • Don’t inject drugs

More information

Umbrella Provide free and confidential sexual health services in Birmingham and Solihull. They provide a variety of support including all types of contraception and STI testing and treatment. It is a non-judgemental service and caters for people of all ages, genders and orientations. Everyone is welcome, and you don’t need to see a GP first.
Umbrella’s services are:

  • Free and Accessible
  • Confidential
  • Local to you

Contact 0121 237 5700

Alternatively, you can visit the website at https://umbrellahealth.co.uk/

Related links

The offline version of this publication can be found here

We have also covered sexual health in general in a previous issue of Omega Health, you can find the issue here.

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