HIV explained

HIV – the human immunodeficiency virus – is spread through unprotected sexual contact and infected blood. There is no cure for HIV. However, thanks to advances in medicine, it is fully preventable and treatable.

HIV works by attacking and weakening a person’s immune system over time, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. If left untreated, HIV can develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Epidemic of the mind

The modern-day barriers to ending the HIV epidemic aren’t medical, but cultural, social, and political. To end the HIV epidemic within our lifetime, we need to address these factors, however rooted in society they may be. 

The Update HIV campaign is based on research identifying five key factors holding us back from the UN Development Goal of ending HIV as a public health risk by 2030:


• stigma and discrimination

• knowledge and awareness

• gender inequality

• access to treatment and testing

• spirituality and beliefs 


The Report

Our report, Epidemic of the Mind examines the social, cultural, and political factors driving the global HIV epidemic today – and why it’s time for an update. 

Further Resources

Understating HIV – how it works and why it spreads – is key to protecting yourself and others from the virus.

If you want to learn more about HIV prevention or are interested in further sexual health resources or what to do if you’ve recently been diagnosed with HIV, we can guide you to some excellent websites dedicated to dealing with those topics.