Could HIV affect me?

An image of the HIV virusIf you think that HIV is something that could affect you, then you should think about what prevention options might work for you. HIV can affect anyone, but you are more likely to get HIV if certain things apply to you. You should think about prevention options if:

  • You have male partners who find it hard to use condoms, or you and/or your partners prefer not to use condoms.
  • You have recently had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or used PEP.
  • You have a partner who has HIV and is not on treatment, or is on treatment but does not have an undetectable viral load.
  • HIV is more common in some places or communities, so you could also think about whether you will be having sex in a country or with a partner from a country where HIV is more common.
  • Your partner has other partners.

If you think you might already have been exposed to HIV, you should take an HIV test. There’s more about that here. If you were exposed within the last 72 hours, you should consider taking PEP.

Personal Story

I was only tested for HIV because my then partner became incredibly ill and was rushed into hospital. This was many years ago before the life saving drugs we have now. I knew that if he was positive then chances were that I would be.

Having the test and finding out a positive result was no surprise but still it left me numb. It was a different time and I became quite ill. It was the early 90s before the introduction of the brilliant, life affirming treatments we now have, I stopped smoking, stopped drugs and at the time drinking and I started to really look at my all-round health. I made changes, started running and exercising and thought about the food I was putting into my body. Back then, before drugs, I did what I could do to stay alive. I understood how precious and bloody wonderful life is.

Twenty five years later I’m still here, thriving and adoring the simple fact that I’m ageing.