HIV is treatable if caught early, with 97% of those on therapy in the UK being “virally suppressed”, National AIDS Trust (NAT) statistics show. This means they cannot pass the virus on even if they have unprotected sex.
Left untreated, however, HIV can develop into acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
This occurs when the immune system is so severely damaged by HIV, the patient is at risk of life-threatening infections and diseases.
Unprotected vaginal or anal sex is the most common route of infection.
Anal sex may be particularly problematic due to the lining of the anus being more delicate than that of the vagina, according to Avert. This means it is more easily damaged, allowing the virus into the body.