Enhancing the health and social wellbeing of children and young people living with HIV

About HIV

People who are fearful about HIV tend not to understand it. Finding out about HIV and how it is transmitted is important in reducing any fears someone may have. To find out about HIV, how it works in the body, how it is transmitted and how medication works, please go to our more detailed understanding HIV area.

The most important thing to know is that you cannot get HIV from any day-to-day contact of living together. The ONLY way HIV is transmitted is through:

  • Unprotected vaginal or anal sex.
  • Sharing needles or injecting equipment.
  • Having a blood transfusion where the blood is infected with HIV.
  • From an HIV positive mother to her baby in the womb, during childbirth or through breast-feeding.

Therefore, unless anyone in your household does any of the above, no one is at risk of contracting HIV from an HIV positive child who comes to live with you.

HIV is now viewed as a long-term, manageable, chronic condition. People can take medication that, on the whole, will keep them well for a long time. The major problem HIV positive people continue to face is discrimination from other people. This tends to happen where people do not understand the facts about HIV, and treat HIV positive people in a negative and hurtful way based on misinformation and myths.

To find out more about HIV, visit NHS, WHO and NAT