HIV, Aids and hepatitis C

What is HIV?

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a sexually transmitted virus that attacks the body’s immune system. A healthy immune system provides a natural defence against disease and infection.

What is AIDS?

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a term that is used to describe the latter stages of HIV, when the immune system has stopped working and the person develops a life-threatening condition, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs).

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne viral infection. Very rarely it can also be passed on through other bodily fluids, such as through having unprotected sex. Drug users sharing needles are at particular risk, as is anyone whose blood has come into contact with the blood of someone infected with hepatitis C.

The virus is not transmitted through normal social contact, such as hugging, kissing, sharing kitchen utensils or via a toilet seat.

Approximately 20% of people will fight the infection and naturally clear it from their bodies within two to six months.

What HIV and AIDS support services are there in Warwickshire?

If you are living with, know someone who is living with, or think you might be at risk from HIV, the Terrance Higgins Trust can help you.

For people living in Coventry and Warwickshire, the Terrence Higgins Trust Client Support Team provides non-medical support to help individuals live well with HIV.

  • Contact with others who are HIV positive;
  • Immigration support;
  • Benefits and housing advice;
  • Information on safer sex;
  • Information on HIV treatment;
  • Referrals to other organisations;
  • Counselling;
  • One-to-one and group peer support;
  • Free condoms;
  • Emotional support;
  • African health promotion;
  • Specialist client groups;
  • Chlamydia screening; and
  • Gay men’s health promotion.

The trust also offers a fortnightly outreach GUM clinic, situated at the hospitals of George Elliot Nuneaton and Rugby St Cross. Please call 02476 229292 for more information and to make an appointment.

Fast tests (HIV) are also available. Please ring 0808 8021221 to find out where and when, or contact Terrence Higgins Trust .

Terrence Higgins Trust – outside of standard office hours you can also contact the Terrence Higgins Trust direct information and support line on 0845 12 21 200 or visit their website.

HIV, Aids and hepatitis C was last updated on September 5, 2013.