What is HIV and AIDS?
HIV-infection is caused by transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). There are two types of HIV, HIV type 1 and 2, with type 1 being the most widespread.
Untreated HIV-infection leads to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). People infected with HIV develop a chronic infection, and the virus is present in the blood lifelong.
Annually there are 250-300 new cases of HIV in Denmark. Certain population groups have a high prevalence of HIV, notably immigrant groups from high risk countries such as central and southern Africa and men, who have sex with men.
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is transmitted through the exchange of contaminated blood, semen and vaginal secretions. HIV is transmitted via unprotected intercourse, both vaginal and anal.
The risk is lower for oral sex, unless the receptive part gets semen in the mouth and has oral ulcerations.
If you have apparent genital herpes or a syphilitic ulcer, there is an increased risk of infection with HIV when having unprotected sex.
Drug-abusers can be infected though the use of syringes that have been used by a HIV-infected person.
You can also get infected though a blood-transfusion, but this is extremely rare in Denmark, since all donor blood is screened for HIV.
A HIV-infected mother can infect her child during birth or through breast-feeding.
What are the symptoms of HIV?
Many people who get infected with HIV do not develop any immediate symptoms. Newly infected can develop flu-like symptoms including sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes and fever approximately two weeks after infection. Development of a generalized rash is another possible symptom.
Later, when the immune defense is weakened, you might develop long-lasting weight-loss, fever and recurring infections such as pneumonia.
How is HIV diagnosed?
HIV is diagnosed by taking a blood sample.
The average time from infection to the time HIV can be detected is one month, with the testmethod used at Bispebjerg Hospital.
What is the treatment for HIV?
If tested positive for HIV, you are referred to The Department of Infectious Disease, who will manage the treatment.
Regular blood-testing will determine the specific need for treatment.
Use of a condom during both vaginal and anal intercourse prevents infection with HIV. If you have sex with a person infected with HIV and the condom ruptures, preventive treatment can be initiated within 24 hours of exposure. This treatment takes place at The Department of Infectious Disease.
See the opening hours of the clinic at www.bispebjerghospital.dk
Where is the clinic located?
The clinic is located at Bispebjerg Hospital on Nielsine Nielsens Vej 3, Indgang 5, 1st floor. At the hospital’s website there is an interactive map of the hospital.