*Warning topic may be sensitive to some, read at your own risk.*


Recently at Ark Burlington Danes Academy, Mel came into our school to talk to us about living with HIV. She told us about the stereotypes and how different people thought different things of her, as well as how she had caught it.

What is HIV?

HIV stands for Human immunodeficiency virus. It attacks the immune system and it damages it. It is damaged so far, to a point where it is no longer able to handle being attacked by viruses which normally don’t affect the body. As Mel said, ‘It isn’t HIV that kills you, it is the other viruses which do it.’ This is because your body is too weak to fight off these infections.

How can it be transmitted?

HIV can be transmitted in many ways. However, the main ways are through: Unprotected Sex, Passed from Mother to Child, Sharing needles or through blood transfusions or organ transplants. HIV can NOT be transmitted by: Insect Bites, Toilet Seats, Kissing, Sharing Cutlery, Swimming Pools.

How can it be prevented?

Sadly, HIV is not curable. However, it can be treated/suppressed. Anti-retroviral drugs (ARV) can be used to suppress the virus and improve immune status. However, new drugs have been created which means that the person is undetectable. This means that if they are taking this drug, and have a HIV test, they will come back as negative.

So, what’s this incredible fact?

This fact is that with this revolutionary drug, you will be undetectable, AND you won’t be able to transmit HIV from yourself to others. Less than 80% of the population know this and, unless you are a doctor, I highly doubt you did too!