HIV and Aids | Oxfordshire County Council

HIV and Aids

We commission sexual health services which can offer testing, advice and support.

What is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that kills cells which fight infection and disease. 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 with the right treatment and care, someone with HIV can expect to live a long and healthy life.

HIV can be passed from person to person if someone with HIV has sex with or shares drug injection needles with another person. It also can be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding.

What is AIDS?

Aids (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a disease you get when HIV destroys your body’s immune system. Normally, your immune system helps you fight off illness. When your immune system fails you can become very sick and can die.

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

Some people use the terms ‘HIV’ and ‘AIDS’ as if they mean the same thing but they don’t. HIV is a virus and people with it have ‘HIV infection’. Most of them don’t have AIDS because that is a name to describe a set of illnesses people with HIV eventually get if they don’t receive treatment . But treatment is so good that few people with HIV in the UK now develop AIDS. There is a test for the virus (an HIV test) but there is no ‘AIDS test’. And people can get HIV but they cannot ‘catch AIDS’.

How do I know if I have HIV or AIDS?

The only way you can know for sure is to be tested. You can have the test done at one of Oxfordshire Sexual Health Service’s clinics in Oxford or Banbury; at the Leys Pharmacy on Cowley Road, Oxford or at your GP surgery.

Where in Oxfordshire can I get a HIV test?

You can have a confidential HIV test at these locations:

Genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic

Churchill Hospital
Old Road
Telephone: 01865 231231

Orchard Health Centre
Cope Road
OX16 2EZ
Telephone 01295 819181

Please telephone the clinics for information on opening times and special services.

What if I test positive for HIV?

Oxfordshire Sexual Health service can provide specialist advice on what to next and where to get support. Contact their health advisers in confidence on 01865 231231 – option 3.

What if I test negative for HIV?

If your test result comes back negative, it is still important to talk to your GP. They can advise you on how to stay safe from HIV.

What support is available locally?

Terence Higgins Trust (THT) offers a variety of local support services to people living with HIV in Oxfordshire

Get in touch by email or telephone 0808 802 1221  Monday to Friday, 10am-8pm. Website information.

Last reviewed
09 August 2016

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