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Help and Advice for HIV & AIDS in the UK

Introduction

There are a number of places that you can turn to for HIV/AIDS related help and advice. This page lists the services and support available for HIV, AIDS and sexual health in the UK. For more general information and advice, see our Help and Advice page.

For your local services scroll to the bottom of this page where there is a list of local AIDS service organisations outside London and local AIDS service organisations in London.

What kinds of HIV/AIDS services are available in the UK?

Emergency medical treatment

If you are in severe pain and need immediate treatment, you should go to the Accident and Emergency (A & E) department at your nearest hospital. A & E is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, including public holidays.

* Remember that A & E is not an alternative to a GP and should only be used in an emergency *

GPs and GUM clinics

If you would like to speak to a medical professional face-to-face to talk about HIV testing, treatment, or to ask for advice then you could contact your local GP surgery or GUM clinic.

A general practitioner (GP) is a qualified doctor that can diagnose and treat illnesses. They can also send patients to see other doctors or specialists who are better suited to treating that illness. You will need to register with a GP at your local doctors surgery. If you are unable to do so, or you are out of your local area, it may be better to visit a GUM clinic.

Find your local GP

GUM (Genitourinary Medicine) clinics are run by the NHS and deal with all aspects of sexual health. They provide free, confidential advice and treatment, and can be attended without a referral from a doctor. They are open to people of any age or sexual orientation. GUM clinics do not contact anyone, including GPs, without the patient’s permission. You may need to phone to make an appointment.

Find your local GUM clinic

UK helplines

If you are not sure which service is best for you, you can call the NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. NHS direct is a free information service that is open all the time. If you tell them what you would like help with, they will be able to direct you to the most suitable place for your needs.

NHS Choices is the website for the NHS, providing reliable health information and a service search to help you find services such as doctors, dentists, hospital, pharmacies and sexual health services within the UK. You can also find out about the NHS, including help with health costs, your rights and choices, and how to make a complaint. There is also information about medicines used to treat HIV and AIDS. NHS Choices website.

If you would prefer to speak to somebody over the phone about anything related to HIV/AIDS you can call The Sexual Health Line on 0800 567 123. The helpline provides a confidential, anonymous 24-hour free telephone counselling, information and referral service for those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

The Africa Advocacy Foundation ( 020 7708 3649) and the National African AIDS Helpline ( 0800 0967 500) provide HIV related support for people of African ethnicity living in the UK and have advisors who speak a variety of languages. Health Initiatives for Youth ( 020 7564 2134) provides support and general information for HIV positive people under 27.

Gay and lesbian help and advice in the UK

If you need advice or information about issues relating to sexuality, read our resources for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or unsure page. This lists helplines, social groups, websites and groups for gay and lesbian people, or those who are unsure of their sexuality.

Local HIV/AIDS service organisations

The local HIV service organisations listed below provide a range of free services to people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS living locally. These services can include case management, support groups and individual counselling as well as assistance with treatment, housing and nutrition. Some organisations also offer free HIV tests or run education and prevention programs.

These are just a few of the many agencies that are there to help. If your nearest town is not is not covered by this list, phone the Terrence Higgins Trust on 0808 802 1221. They operate Monday to Friday, 10 am - 10 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 12 pm - 6 pm and should be able to suggest an HIV service organisation near to you. You can also email them at info@tht.org.uk.

If you are looking for emotional support, the Counselling Directory can direct you to a local counsellor or psychotherapist who is specialised in HIV and AIDS support.

Although care has been taken to select helpful and appropriate resources, AVERT.org is not responsible for the content of these sites and inclusion here does not imply our endorsement. If you would like to suggest an addition or an amendment to this page then please email us.

AVERT.org has a range of other resources for people affected by HIV & AIDS, including information about treatment and testing, and personal stories.

South West

South East and East of England

The Midlands

Yorkshire and The Humber

The North

Scotland, N. Ireland & Wales

 

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