It’s estimated that 6,238 people are living with HIV in Scotland
5,427 people have been diagnosed
Another 811may be infected but are undiagnosed
1 in every 866 people in Scotland is HIV positive
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus
This particular virus was identified in the 1980s and belongs to a group of viruses called ‘retroviruses’.
HIV attacks the immune system, and gradually causes damage. This can mean that, without treatment and care, a person with HIV is at risk of developing serious infections and cancers that a healthy immune system would fight off.
Current treatment for HIV works by reducing the amount of HIV in the body so the immune system can work normally. This doesn’t get rid of HIV completely, but people living with HIV who take medication for their condition can expect a near normal healthy life expectancy.
HIV is present in blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk.
HIV can be passed on to someone; during unprotected anal and vaginal sexual intercourse by sharing injecting equipment from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth or through breast feeding. There are ways of preventing HIV infection in all of these situations.
You can only become infected with HIV if one of these body fluids containing HIV gets into your body and passes into your bloodstream.
HIV cannot be transmitted through healthy unbroken skin.