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HIV & women

Selina Corkery

This booklet is about HIV and women. Whether you are newly diagnosed with HIV, or have been living with HIV for some time, the information here is to help with answering your questions on living well with HIV, as well as with talking to your doctor and others involved in your health care. We recommend you discuss the information in this booklet with your doctor or other members of your healthcare team.

The booklet includes information on some of the day-to-day issues involved in living with HIV. It also has information about HIV treatment, sexual health, contraception and having a baby.

An HIV diagnosis is a life-changing event. It is important to know that a woman with HIV can live a healthy life; have a baby without passing on HIV; work and study; and have fulfilling emotional and sexual relationships.

In the UK, people with HIV are protected by law against discrimination because of their HIV status. And there’s lots of support available through your healthcare team and community-based organisations.

  • Living with HIV

    We asked a group of women who had been living with HIV for some time how they had felt and responded when they first received their diagnosis. “This...

  • Keeping well

    HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus) weakens your immune system. When you first become HIV positive, you might not feel ill or even know you have HIV. Once...

  • HIV treatment in women

    The evidence available suggests that HIV treatment works well for women. Unless you are pregnant, the recommendations for HIV treatment are the same for both women and...

  • Health checks for HIV

    To protect your immune system and maintain your health and wellbeing, it is recommended that you have regular medical monitoring at an HIV specialist centre (this is often...

  • GPs

    Whilst you may receive much of your care from your HIV clinic, a GP is also important when it comes to your long-term health. Your GP is...

  • HIV and your body

    As well as affecting your immune system, HIV may affect your hormonal system. You may experience menstrual changes, especially if you have a low CD4 cell count and/or...

  • HIV and hepatitis co-infection

    Hepatitis is a viral infection that affects your liver. Some types – hepatitis B and C – can cause long-term, serious health problems. Many people with HIV...

  • Mental health and emotional wellbeing

    Women with HIV often report experiencing feelings of isolation, depression, loss of sleep and anxiety on diagnosis. An HIV diagnosis is a life-changing event and these responses...

  • Other health checks and care

    If you are over 50, like all women in the UK, you should be called for a breast screen (mammogram) every three years to check for the...

  • Sex and HIV

    Sex, desire and pleasure need not stop when you have an HIV diagnosis. Women continue to be sexually active and to have fulfilling sexual and emotional relationships. Many...

  • Contraception

    Contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy. This allows you to plan a pregnancy for a time when you’re ready to have a child or to avoid...

  • Conception

    All women have the right to make their own choices around fertility, regardless of their HIV status. You should expect and receive the same level of support...

  • Pregnancy and birth

    British HIV Association (BHIVA) guidelines set out the treatment and care people with HIV in the UK can expect to receive. Its most recent guidelines on HIV...

  • Disclosure

    Telling people you have HIV (disclosing) can be frightening. It is important to take time to think about the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Many people tell...

  • Summary

    You can live well with HIV.Being involved in your own health care can help to keep you well. Being registered with a GP, as well as having an...

  • Where to go for information and support

    You can use NAM’s e-atlas, an online service finder ( to search for services near where you are. Some UK organisations are listed below. ...

HIV & women

Published January 2022

Last reviewed July 2014

Next review July 2017

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this booklet.

We are grateful to Bristol Myers-Squibb and Wandsworth Oasis for funding towards the production of this booklet. Our funders have had no editorial control over the content.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.