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HIV

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) affects the immune system. A number of community groups offer a rapid finger prick HIV test, were you get your results in 20 minutes. HIV is a treatable infection, although not curable at present.

You can use the service finder to find a HIV PEP treatment near you.

What is it?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV affects the immune system. It is the virus that can lead to AIDS.

How do I catch it?

The virus is transmitted during sex, including vaginal, anal and on rare occasions oral sex.

It can also be spread by sharing injecting equipment, and sometimes a mother can pass the virus onto her baby during the birth process and/or breast feeding.

What symptoms could I have?

Not everybody with HIV shows signs or symptoms of the infection. Some people when first infected may experience flu-like symptoms (sometimes known as seroconversion illness, or primary HIV infection). This may include diarrhoea, headaches, fatigue, high temperature/fever, muscle aches and pains, skin rash or sore throat.

Following the first stage you may not experience any symptoms for a number of years, and the HIV may go undetected but during this time the virus will multiply and can still be passed to other people.

However, unless HIV is diagnosed and treated with antiviral tablets, the immune systems will be affected, and eventually lead to life-threatening infections and/or cancers.

How do you test for it?

A number of community groups offer a rapid finger prick HIV test, were you get your results in 20 minutes ( click here for details).

We can also offer this in clinic or more usually the HIV test we offer is a blood test which is sent to our laboratory. Results are available in five working days.

How do you treat it?

If your test is positive, we will refer you to the HIV specialist clinic.

HIV is a treatable infection, although not curable at present. Treatments for HIV are very good, and you should be able to lead a healthy life if the diagnosis is made early before the immunity is damaged. The earlier you can test and be diagnosed if you are HIV positive, the better the physical outcome.

A new way to prevent HIV - PEP

PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) is a medical treatment that should prevent HIV infection after possible HIV exposure. This treatment should be taken within 72 hours of possible HIV infection. PEP can only offer some protection, however it can’t be guaranteed that it will stop you from becoming HIV positive.

When would I need PEP?

If you think you been exposed to HIV by having unprotected sex (vaginal or anal) or sharing injected equipment, then you should speak to your Doctor, nurse or sexual health worker in order to get more information.

PEP should be taken within 72 hours of possible HIV exposure; the sooner you start the more effective it is.

Where can I get PEP from?

You can use the service finder to find a HIV PEP treatment near you.

You can get a PEP treatment from a Sexual Health Clinic or Accident & Emergency Department. You do not need an appointment for this; they will try to see you as soon as possible.

If it is the evening or weekend or you can’t go to your nearest Sexual Health Clinic, please go to your nearest Accident & Emergency Department, but be aware that not all of these departments are aware of PEP.

PEP is not available from your GP or at any pharmacies.

For more information about the kind of treatment or side effects please contact your Doctor, nurse or Sexual Health worker.

Also check ways to prevent HIV and remember to have regular sexual health checks as not all sexually transmitted infections have symptoms but they can increase HIV transmission.

Useful contact details:

Sexual Health Line: 0113 392 6725

Sunnybank Wing,
Leeds General Infirmary,
Leeds, West Yorkshire
LS1 3EX

Monday to Thursday 8:00am - 7:30pm

Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm

Saturday 11am - 2:30pm

Plus Health Advisers contact: 0113 3926058

Or Yorkshire MESMAC’s Head Office: 0113 244 4209

MESMAC's address

22-23 Blayds Yard
Leeds
LS1 4AD

For out of hours services please contact A&E:

Great George Street,
Leeds,
West Yorkshire,
LS1 3EX

0113 2432799

For more information about the kind of treatment or side effects please contact your Doctor, nurse or Sexual Health worker.

Also check ways to prevent HIV and remember to have regular sexual health checks as not all sexually transmitted infections have symptoms but they can increase HIV transmission.

For more information on what to do if you need PEP, please click here.


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