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HIV and AIDS
Advancements in HIV treatments mean that a person infected with HIV can lead a healthy, active and long life. Treatments can suppress the virus so it is no longer detectable and cannot be passed onto others. The earlier a person is diagnosed as being HIV positive, the more effective the treatment and the lower the risk of infecting others.
How the infection is passed
You may become infected with HIV through
- Unprotected sex with an infected partner
- Sharing syringes and needles with infected drug user
- Receiving infected blood transfusions, organ or tissue transplants
- An infected mother to a child in the womb, birth or breastfeeding
Those at greater risk of HIV infection
- Men who have sex with men
- Are from a black and minority ethnic group
- Participate in chemsex - the use of illegal substances while participating in risky sexual behaviour
- Injection drug users
Repeat HIV testing is advised for the above groups and can be accessing through the Warrington Sexual Health service at Bath Street, which also provides HIV support post-diagnosis.
You can't become infected with HIV through
- Casual physical contact such as touching, kissing or hugging
- Coughing or sneezing
- Sharing everyday objects like cups, cutlery, and toilet and washing facilities
- Swimming in a public pool
- Mosquitoes or other insect bites
- Donating blood
Early symptoms of HIV infection include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Mental changes such as memory loss
- Weight loss
- Persistent cough
- Severe recurrent skin rashes
- Herpes and mouth infections
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
Protecting yourself from HIV
Prevention involves creating a barrier to the virus, such as a condom, and that any skin-piercing equipment you use is not contaminated and is disposed of safely
People who are HIV negative but are at risk of getting HIV, such as from a HIV positive partner, may access pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication. The medication is taken before you have sex.
If you are at risk of HIV infection, you should test for the virus as soon as possible. The earlier someone is diagnosed, the more successful treatment is likely to be. All Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinics offer testing, together with confidential advice, counselling and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. You can also visit your GP.
Bridgewater Integrated Sexual Health Service
Call 01925 644202
Halton Hospital GUM Clinic
Call 01928 753217
Royal Liverpool Hospital Main Clinic
Call 0151 7062620
Manchester Royal Infirmary
Call 0161 276 5200 (male)/0161 276 5212 (female)
If you are finding that any HIV related conditions are making daily life difficult, adult social services may be able to help.
You do not need to tell us that you are HIV positive, though we will be able to offer more specific and more flexible help if you do make us aware of your circumstances.
To find out if adult social services can help you or someone you know with HIV, ask your GUM clinic, doctor or contact in a voluntary HIV organisation to refer you or contact us directly.
There are several organisations and services you go to for support, information and education