Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS.

(Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). HIV is a global problem of enormous proportions. HIV is predominantly spread through unprotected sex and sharing of needles. Less commonly, it is spread through oral sex and needle stick injuries.  HIV is not spread by everyday social contact or through insect bites.


HIV often causes no symptoms before it progresses to AIDS disease. If you have had unprotected sex, visit your doctor for testing. Flu-like symptoms, extreme tiredness, mouth ulcers and weight loss can be symptomatic of HIV.


There is no vaccine or cure for HIV-AIDS. Safer sexual practices such as using condoms may help prevent infection. HIV can also be transmitted by penetration of the skin with infected implements including poorly sterilised medical equipment.

Therefore, tattooing, acupuncture and body piercing should be avoided. If medical treatment is required while travelling, ensure that sterile instruments such as new needles and syringes are used. In many less developed countries blood transfusions may not be properly screened for viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C.