HIV & AIDS Information

Award winning clinic for healthcare and business quality standards in 2016 & 2018

Here you can find out more about HIV and AIDS

  • Is it AIDS or HIV?
  • Does HIV produce symptoms?
  • How is HIV transmitted?
  • In which bodily fluids is HIV present?
  • Which routes are irrelevant in HIV?
  • How can I protect myself?
Is it AIDS or HIV?

The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is the end process when defences have been destroyed by the HIV virus (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and when treatment has not been used to control it. This virus reduces our defences against germs that produce infections. There are two types: HIV 1 and HIV 2. In Europe, more than 99% of cases are type 1. In West Africa type 2 is more common.

Does HIV produce symptoms?

The acute infection stage (seroconversion):

This is the period from when HIV enters the body up until antibodies against the virus are produced. This stage normally lasts 2 to 3 months. In the vast majority of cases this period goes unnoticed, but occasionally there are clinical signs and symptoms similar to flu (fever, unwellness, sore throat, swollen glands). However, HIV does not produce nasal mucous.

The asymptomatic stage:
This is the stage between seroconversion and the first signs of immunodeficiency. It is impossible to know whether someone is infected with HIV from their appearance, because in this stage the patient is completely well. This period can go on for more than 10 years.

AIDS stage:
This is the last stage of the HIV infection and is seen only when the patient does not receive treatment for HIV. It is related to a group of diseases such as the Wasting Syndrome or opportunistic infections. HIV does not produce disease itself, but rather it causes the hosts an immunodeficiency state and therefore they are susceptible to infections. These diseases can be serious enough to cause death of a patient with AIDS. In this stage some tumours may appear such as Kaposi’s sarcoma.

How is HIV transmitted?
  • Having unprotected sex with infected people, especially in penetration without a condom.The risk of HIV infection in oral sex is much lower.
  • Infected bloodbeing inoculated into fresh wounds or into the eyes, or in poorly controlled blood transfusions.
  • From an infected mother to her baby during labour.
  • Sharing needles with an infected person.
  • In tattoos with reused infected needles.
In which bodily fluids is HIV present?
  • Semen and pre-ejaculate
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Blood
  • Mother’s milk
Which routes are irrelevant in HIV?
  • Saliva
  • Sweat
  • Tears
  • Urine
  • Faeces

Therefore, HIV cannot be transmitted through kissing, hugging, stroking or shaking hands. Nor in sharing cutlery, food or drinks, going to the hospital or to see the doctor, using public transport or using the same toilet as an infected person. You cannot catch HIV by donating blood or getting a blood extraction done, for all materials are sterile and single-use.

How can I protect myself?

There is still no effective HIV vaccine, so our only defence is to understand the virus and prevent it.

  • Use protection – by using a condom as a protective barrier with HIV positive people or people whose HIV status is unknown.
  • If you truly believe that you have been infected by HIV it is better to find out as soon as possible so that a medical team can start to protect your health
  • If you think you have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, you may be a candidate to receive prophylactic treatment (preventative medication).

How can we help you?

Contact with Open House team

Caution! It is important to read about the Window Period before doing tests UNLESS YOU HAVE WORRYING SYMPTOMS

Please trust our clinical judgement. Open House has done nearly 72.000 STI tests.

What would you like to do now?

I want to do an HIV test

I want to know what is the risk of HIV in oral, vaginal, or anal sex

I would like to do a complete sexual health check-up

I’m in a relationship and have had sex with someone else – I’m very frightened!

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