Hepatitis B and C are easily transmitted through contaminated blood. Most people do not know if they are infected. Hepatitis B is mainly transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk. Importantly, there is an effective vaccination against Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C is mainly transmitted through blood, with a low risk of transmission through semen and vaginal fluid, or unprotected anal sex. There is no vaccine against Hepatitis C and current treatments for it are not effective in all cases.
HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids, in particular blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. It is not transmitted through casual contact, coughing, sneezing, by sharing a toilet, by eating utensils, or by consuming food or beverages handled or prepared by someone with HIV. Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that attacks the immune system, and weakens your ability to fight infections and disease. It's most commonly caught by having sex without a condom. It can also be passed on by sharing infected needles and other injecting equipment, and from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life. HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person, which includes semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood, and breast milk. It is a fragile virus and does not survive outside the body for long. HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat or urine.
The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is by anal or vaginal sex without a condom. According to statistics from Public Health England, 95% of those diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2013 acquired HIV as a result of sexual contact.
People with HIV are living full lives and there are very few things that you can not do just because you have HIV. Crucially, most people with HIV find that they are loved, accepted and supported by those close to them.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. People with HIV do still come across stigma, prejudice and discrimination This can often be the worse part of living with HIV.