What is HIV?

Although they are often mixed up these two words have different meanings. 'HIV' is the name of a virus, World AIDS day ribbonwhereas 'AIDS' is a name for a collection of illnesses caused by this virus.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) affects the immune system. You can catch the virus through unprotected sex or sometimes through sharing needles for drug use.

Routine blood tests for syphilis and HIV are recommended to all new patients and those who may have been at risk.

If you would like further information about HIV testing please ask to see a doctor, nurse or health adviser. HIV results are usually available within 7 days after testing. In some clinics we offer same day testing, so please contact your local iCaSH clinics direct for further details.

There’s currently no cure for HIV, but there are very effective drug treatments that enable most people with the virus to live a long and health life.

With an early diagnosis and effective treatments, most people with HIV will not develop any AIDS-related illnesses and will live a near normal lifespan.

Standards of Care for People Living with HIV 2018 

The BHIVA Standards of Care for People Living with HIV (2018 standards) were published in 2018. This is a valuable document - but it is long and can be hard to understand in some places. So a group of people living with HIV have produced "Your Guide to…" the 2018 Standards. This aims to tell you about what you should reasonably expect to receive in terms of HIV care. There is some useful general information and eight Standards that cover all aspects of HIV care in the UK throughout your HIV journey…such as testing and diagnosis; starting HIV treatment; sexual health; mental health and emotional wellbeing; and more.  

You can find this guide online at: https://standards.bhiva.org [opens in new window] where there are also easy links to the full 2018 standards should you want more information. 

PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis)

PrEP (HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is a combination of medicines that protects you from HIV. Taking PrEP before being exposed to HIV means there’s enough drug inside you to block HIV if it gets into your body.

Click on the links below for our patient information.