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How is HIV treated?

Dr Louisa Draper

"HIV treatment is very effective and it can keep the virus under control. It is very important to start antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible after the infection - this is why testing and early diagnosis are vital."

Dr Louisa Draper

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HIV life expectency
HIV is feared by many - but it is understood by few. With numerous myths about miracle cures and false assumptions circulating online, it can be difficult to find reliable information. Read our guide about the different kinds of treatments for HIV, prescribed to prevent an infection or suppress the virus.

HIV Mythbuster

Myth: HIV is a death sentence.

Reality: As long as HIV is diagnosed before the illness has progressed, patients can live a fulfilled and normal life. The earlier you are diagnosed, the less likely HIV is going to affect your life expectancy.

Myth: There is a cure for HIV.

Reality: There is no cure - once you have been infected, you will carry the virus for life. This is why it is important that you use condoms and protect yourself.

Myth: You can tell whether someone has HIV.

Reality: There is no way of telling whether someone is HIV positive, unless they get tested. If you are unsure whether your partner has it, make sure they get tested before you have unprotected sex.

Myth: I don’t have any symptoms, so I can’t have HIV.

Reality: HIV does not necessarily cause any symptoms in the early stages. Some people have the virus for years without knowing it - that’s why it is important to get tested.

Myth: HIV is not really a problem any more.

Reality: HIV infections in the UK are on the rise - with a 26% increase between 1990 and 2010. It is estimated that 21% of people who are HIV positive are unaware of their condition.