HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It attacks the body's defence system preventing it from fighting illnesses and infections.
HIV is not passed on by shaking hands, kissing, touching or hugging, sharing cups, cutlery, crockery or towels. HIV is not spread by sneezing or coughing or from tears or sweat. A person does not get infected with HIV from daily contact.
How can HIV be passed on?
HIV can be passed on in the following ways:
Unprotected sexual intercourse - vaginal, oral or anal without using a condom
Sharing contaminated needles, syringes and 'works'
From an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding
From contaminated blood or blood products
A diagnosis of HIV affects you, your family, partner and friends. The following describes the help available and provides details of who to contact for further information and advice.
What do Social Services provide?
Social Services provide a confidential service for anyone regardless of gender, sexuality, lifestyle or racial origin in the surrounding area.
Together we can help with:
Counselling and emotional support
You may feel the need to discuss your fears and anxieties. It may be difficult for you to talk about your thoughts and feelings with your family. We offer emotional and psychological support in a confidential and non judgmental environment.
Extra expenses may be associated with your illness. You may be entitled to various benefits or be eligible for financial help from other sources. You may also be given support with continuing to work.
You may have physical difficulties in coping with daily living, need help in the home or with travelling to hospital appointments. We will work with you.
National AIDS Helpline 0800 567 123. For other languages 0800 717 2227.