Saturday, November 21, 2015


American actor Charlie Sheen recently announced on a television chat show that he was living with HIV, which has got some media coverage, including some that suggested that not everyone knows how HIV is spread.   

I don't know how typical this Guardian story is, but it does suggest that some people do need more information, and up to date accurate information, about HIV.

When I started working in health libraries in 1986, AIDS was a very current topic.  I remember hearing ideas about who was most at risk, and what some people said definitely conveyed the idea that it was a condition that affected gay men, and not anyone else.  I also remember learning about Edinburgh, where I had just moved from, that the group most affected there was not that group at all.  Richard Holloway, who became Bishop of Edinburgh the year after I left the city, realised when he moved there that the community affected in Edinburgh was not the same as the one affected in Boston, Massachusetts, where he had lived and worked before.

Then there was the government's television advert and leaflet, "Don't Die of Ignorance", preserved here at the National Archives.

For today's information about HIV, including how it is spread, and all the developments in treatment and pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, have a look at these:

NHS Choices: symptoms, causes, diagnosis, prevention and living with HIV and AIDS, plus stories, details of clinical trials, and a discussion forum.

Clinical Knowledge Summaries: for primary care health practitioners, covering diagnosis and management, with scenarios.  CKS links to supporting evidence, but in this case it is guidelines and review articles, with no information about anti retroviral treatments, which are beyond the scope of the information.  CKS information was last updated in September this year.  CKS is one of the sources picked up by NICE Evidence Search, which you should try for other sources.

The Terrence Higgins Trust, founded in 1982 and named after one of the first men to die of AIDS, has publications, information on sexual health and on living with HIV, and the history of the Trust gives an insight into the history of what is known about HIV and AIDS.  There is also information on the activities of the Trust itself, and its local centres.

Thanks to the THT site, I know that National HIV Testing Week begins today, 21st November.

In the United States there is information at (managed by the Department of Health and Human Services), CDC, and Aidsinfo, from the NIH.  Aidsinfo uses Google Translate to provide information in other languages, and the other sites are available also in Spanish.

The World Health Organization has information, including data and statistics, information on treating children, on mother to child transmission, and on co-infections.  Use the links at the top right to get the information in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

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