HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV prevents the bodies’ immune system from working properly by infecting key cells in the bodies’ natural defence system.
Although there is no cure for HIV it can be treated. This means that if you are infected with HIV you can live a long healthy life. There are several comprehensive support services available.
It stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. If HIV isn’t treated, the gradual weakening of the immune system leaves the body vulnerable to serious infections.
HIV is spread through the exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, semen and vaginal fluids. The most common way that HIV is spread it through sexual intercourse, including oral and anal with someone who is infected. You can also spread the virus through sharing needles and from mother to child, although advances in medicine can prevent HIV been passed from mother to child.
You cannot catch HIV through kissing, being sneezed on by someone who is infected, from sharing baths, towels or cutlery. Or even from a swimming pool or sitting on the same toilet seat.
Male and Female primary symptoms of HIV
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Tiredness
  • Joint pain and Muscle pain
  • Swollen glands
  • A blotch rash on the chest
HIV is difficult to diagnose from symptoms alone, which is why it is important to have a HIV test. A blood test is required to detect the presence of the virus. The test however can only detect the virus after three months after the initial contact.
To find out more go to the FPA website – You can also find lots of information on HIV on the Terrance Higgins Trust website -
Being HIV positive
If you have a positive HIV test you will be referred to a HIV specialist who will be able to help you with living with HIV. Being HIV positive means taking extra care of your own health, and also protect others as you can pass on the virus. LASS offers services for people who are living with HIV. The services are developed to offer support, guidance and care for those who are HIV positive. A list of the services they provide is at:
Leicestershire AIDS Support Service (LASS) offers confidential rapid HIV Testing – see their website for more details.

Getting tested

As well as LASS testing you can also follow this link to find out more about where to get tested.