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Nov 2015
HIV and AIDS by Marzieh Rabiee

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a subgroup of retrovirus that attacks and weakens the immune system leading to development of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

HIV is transmitted through:

  • Sexual contact- Unprotected anal or oral sex with a HIV carrier partner
  • Sharing needles for injection of drugs
  • From mother to baby- pregnancy, childbirth, and breast feeding
  • Blood transfusion and organ transplant
  • Occupational exposure- Health care providers accidentally pricking themselves with infected needles


Depending on the stage of the disease, patients may experience different symptoms.

Early stage

This is within 2-4 weeks after being infected by the HIV. The most common symptoms of this stage are flu like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, body rash, lethargy, headache, and muscle and joint pains. Such symptoms may last a few days or a few weeks. It is important to remember that some people may not experience any symptoms at all.

Clinical latency stage

During this stage which may take up to 10 years the virus is active and progressively damaging the immune system, however no particular symptoms are observed.

Progression to AIDS stage

If left untreated during the early or clinical latency stage, the disease can progress into the AIDS stage which is the final stage of infection. At this stage symptoms such as rapid weight loss, pneumonia, chronic diarrhoea (lasting more than 1 week), Skin problem, extreme and unexplained tiredness, recurring fever and night sweats, recurrent infections, and sore of mouth, genitals, and anus may be experienced.


HIV is mainly diagnosed through blood test which can be carried out in:

  • Local sexual health clinics
  • GP surgeries
  • Hospitals

They are also available by post and over the counter at some pharmacies where a small fee is required.


The human body is unable to fight HIV and no treatment has been found to completely cure the condition, however those affected can lead a long and healthy life.

The aim of treatment is to reduce the level of HIV in blood, thus allowing the immune system to repair and prevent related illnesses.

Those affected by HIV within the last 72 hours can receive emergency anti- HIV medication, also known as PEP, to prevent infection. This is a month long treatment with serious side effects and is not guaranteed to work. PEP is available in sexual sex or genitourinary medicine clinics, as well as hospitals.

HIV is treated with antiretroviral (ARV) medicines. A combination of ARVs is usually provided to prevent development of resistance by HIV. To increase compliance to treatment some ARVs are made into one pill.


To prevent HIV infection it is important to reduce the risk of exposure. This is achieved through:

  • Protected sex- using condoms, lubricants, dental dams, and having linited number of sexual partners.
  • Avoiding share of needles and syringes
  • Screening for HIV in pregnancy

Living with HIV

  • Review your medication regularly
  • Avoid exposure to other infections by having the seasonal flu jab, pneumococcal and vaccination
  • Stop smoking
  • Regular exercise






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COVID-19 Vaccinations

We are pleased to announce that NHS Covid-19 Vaccinations will be carried out at Bolton Wanderers Football Club by Hootons Pharmacy from 28/01/2021. Please find the location here.

If you are in receipt of an NHS letter that explains you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination then please click this link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

Alternatively, you can call 119 and they will assist you with your booking.

You will be able to choose the option to book Hootons, Bolton Wanderers Football Club, Unit 1B,Burnden Way,Horwich, Greater Manchester,BL66JW

If you are a health and social care worker requiring vaccination , please click on this link to book an appointment: https://lvs7.nhsbookings.com/v2/

The NHS is prioritising those at risk. We anticipate moving down the cohort list set by JCVI, as the weeks roll by. You will be notified as soon as that information has been released.

Stay Safe, maintain social distancing and keep washing your hands.

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