What every GP should know about HIV - Promotional feature

Did you know that one in five people in the UK don't know that HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sex?*

With current levels of public knowledge about HIV so low, many people need the advice of healthcare professionals to help safeguard their sexual health.

But how up-to-date is your own HIV knowledge?

Asked these questions by a patient, colleague, friend or relative, what would be your answer?
A  Does HIV infection have symptoms?
B  How soon can a test tell me if I’ve been infected with HIV?
C   Can HIV be passed on through biting, spitting or kissing?
D   Can people be prosecuted for passing on HIV?

Much has changed in the field of HIV and AIDS since the early 1980s and as a consequence many people’s knowledge (including the knowledge of healthcare professionals) is based on incomplete, inaccurate and outdated information.

If any of the answers to these questions came as a surprise, there is now a simple way for you to ensure your knowledge – and the knowledge of the people you care for – is right up-to-date.

Prevention through education  

HIV experts NAT (National AIDS Trust), working in partnership with Durex, are making clear, current and trustworthy information about HIV available to healthcare professionals and to the public through two websites:

Up-to-date information guaranteed by NAT (National AIDS Trust)

HIVaware – what everyone should know about HIV

To increase public awareness of HIV, you can confidently recommend people in your care who want to be better informed to visit HIVaware. It includes:

  • Up-to-date facts and information about HIV, including busting of some common myths.
  • A simple questionnaire to help people decide if they have put themselves at risk.
  • Real stories from people living with HIV in the UK.

Recommend the public visit www.HIVaware.org.uk

HIVtoday – up-to-date professional development

Hosted on the Durex Healthcare Professional website, HIVtoday will give you all the information you need to answer everyday questions about HIV. It includes:

  • HIV facts that every healthcare professional should know.
  • Model answers to common questions from colleagues and the public.
  • Online assessment of your knowledge with a certificate as evidence of your CPD.

Visit www.DurexHCP.co.uk/HIVtoday

The answers
A Yes. There are some distinctive symptoms of very recent infection. The most common symptoms to occur after HIV infection are a combination of sore throat, rash and fever found together.
B The most advanced laboratory tests can provide an accurate result a month after exposure.
C HIV cannot be passed on through spitting or kissing. Biting presents only a theoretical risk. There have been only a few cases worldwide where HIV infection has been linked to biting (none in the UK), and these were in very unusual circumstances.
D Since 2011 there have been a small number of prosecutions for ‘reckless’ HIV transmission in the UK. Prosecution for intentional transmission is also possible, although there has yet to be a successful prosecution for this.

* Source: Ipsos MORI research 2010. 20% of people did not identify ‘sex without a condom between a man and a woman’ as a way that HIV could be passed from person to person. The same percentage failed to identify ‘sex without a condom between two men’.

This is a promotional feature article that has been produced by Reckitt Benckiser (Durex).

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