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HIV and Aids

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HIV is an acronym for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV is a virus that damages the cells that make up the immune system and affects an individual's ability to fight infections.  

If someone’s immune system is damaged by HIV (usually over many years), they may develop one or more serious infections and illnesses. Sometimes this is called an AIDS diagnosis. AIDS is an acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).  

You will likely recognise the term HIV and AIDS from history and conversations. It’s important to remember that research and treatments for this disease have progressed massively in the last few decades, meaning that nowadays people with HIV can live normal lives. 

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HIV Prevention

The following measures can help prevent HIV transmission during vaginal/frontal and/or anal sex. 

  • Testing regularly for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 
  • Wearing condoms when having sex, as they are one of the best ways to prevent HIV and many other STIs. For anal sex, use water-based or silicone-based lube to reduce the risk of the condom tearing. 
  • Using HIV prevention medicines such as PrEP.   

HIV Testing and Treatment

It’s important not to delay getting a test if you think you may have been exposed to HIV. If you have had sex with someone without a condom in the last 72 hours, who you know has HIV or think they may have HIV, you will need to access a treatment called PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), which may reduce your chances of getting the virus. PEP must be taken within 72 hours (three days), and ideally should be taken within 24 hours.

There are sexual health clinics providing advice and support for Leicestershire and Rutland teenagers.  Follow the links below to find out more.

For further support and information... 

These links take you to other websites or services that are not provided by Teen Health. The pages have been selected to give you more information on this topic area. They will open another tab in your browser.   
Leicester Sexual Health Logo

Leicester Sexual Health Service

The Sexual Health Service for all people in Leicestershire and Rutland

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Leicestershire and Rutland Sexual Health

Online Sexual Health Service - advice and ordering 24 hours a day

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HIV services and support

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Brook logo


Sexual Health information

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Black Beetle Health

Sexual health and wellbeing information for LGBTQ+ black and people of colour

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Be In The Know

Understanding HIV and Aids

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ChildLine logo


Information on HIV and safer sex

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The Mix

Information on safer sex

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Health for Teens

Health for Teens

Information and advice

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tellmi logo


Tellmi is a safe, anonymous app where you can talk about absolutely anything. 

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