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Living with HIV

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus attacks the immune system, and weakens your ability to fight infections and disease.
The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test. This involves testing a sample of your blood or saliva for signs of the infection. Although there is no cure, treatments are now very effective, enabling people with HIV to live long and healthy lives.

Learn more about HIV/AIDS from NHS Choices

Learn more about HIV/AIDS from Public Health England

HIV and AIDS is covered as part of the Equality Act 2010, this means employees will automatically be protected against discrimination from the day they are diagnosed.

Find out more about your rights

Preventing HIV and AIDS

The easiest way to protect against HIV transmission is to have protected sex. If you have had sex without a condom or have shared needles, you could be at risk of HIV infection. It is important that you get tested, so you are aware of your HIV status and can begin on treatment immediately.

Prep is a course of HIV drugs taken before sex to reduce the risk of getting HIV. It is not widely available yet for people at risk but may be in our area soon.

Pep is a treatment that can prevent HIV infection after the virus has entered a person’s body. You can get this from sexual health clinics or from Accident and Emergency departments. Pep needs to be started no later than 72 hours after exposure.

For more information on Prep and Pep contact your local sexual health clinic. 

Find you nearest GP here

Find your nearest sexual health clinic here

Can’t Pass it on

People living with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot pass on the virus to someone else. The Cant Pass it on campaign aims to educate people about the effectiveness of modern HIV treatment.

Find out more about the Can’t Pass it on Campaign

Living with HIV and AIDS

HIV medication is very effective and if you’re diagnosed and start treatment quickly it is likely that you will live a long and healthy life. Treatment enables you to take care of your own health and prevents the risk of passing on HIV.

Antiretroviral medications are used to treat HIV; these drugs must be taken every day as recommended by your doctor.

Without treatment, the virus will attack the immune system and there is a risk it may be passed on.

You should seek medical advice as soon as possible if you think you might have been exposed to HIV.

Find your nearest GP here

As well as taking effective HIV treatment, here are some positive lifestyle changes that you can do if you have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

Take regular exercise

Our local groups and activities directory has a wide selection of fitness classes and physical activity pursuits which you can join. Our staying active and healthy weight information pages also have advice and support on taking part in regular exercise.

Search our Community directory

View our Healthy weight page

View our Staying active page

Eat a healthy diet

The NHS Live well pages has lots of information to help get started in eating a healthy diet.

Tips on eating a healthy diet

Stop smoking

Stopping smoking improves your health which will support you in managing your condition.

Find out how to stop smoking

Have flu jabs once a year to reduce the risk of getting serious illnesses

You should speak to your GP who will be able to advise you further about having the flu jabs.

Find you nearest GP here

Find more information on our keeping warm in winter page

Newly diagnosed with HIV

There are many things that you can do if; a friend or loved one has been recently diagnosed with HIV - 

  • talk – be prepared for open honest conversations about HIV
  • listen - being diagnosed with HIV can be life changing news so it is important to listen to your health professionals
  • learn - having a solid understanding of HIV can help you to move on living the life you want to lead
  • follow any medication prescribed by your Doctor.
  • seek further support from the organisation listed below

If you are the sexual partner of someone who has been diagnosed with HIV, you should also get tested so that you know your own HIV status.

Mental Health and HIV

Good mental health helps to live your life and is essential to successfully treating HIV. To help you manage your mental health it is important that you know what support is available to you.

One of the most common health conditions with people living with HIV is depression. This can range from mild to severe and can affect your day to day life. Symptoms can include –

  • persistent sadness
  • anxiety
  • feeling empty
  • helplessness
  • negativity
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of interest in people and hobbies

Other mental health conditions can also occur in people with HIV and AIDS including anxiety, mood and personality disorders.

Find out more about Mental Health

You should talk to your doctor about how you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. If you have has any pre existing mental health conditions, it is important that you discuss this with your doctor including any medication you are taking. It is important that your doctor is aware of this as some medicines for mental health conditions or mood disorders can interact with HIV medication. Your doctor knows how different medications interact with each other and is able to give you more detailed information to support you.

Find you nearest GP here

Hull City Council specialist support 

If you are living with a with HIV or a carer, Hull City Council has a specialist social worker that can provide you with –

  • Information
  • practical help
  • support
  • advice

They can accept referrals from yourself, carers, partners or people involved with your case.

If you are living with HIV or AIDS, then Hull Adult Social Care maybe able to support you. They discuss with you your physical, medical, emotional and financial needs.

This is a highly confidential service and your information will be restricted to the social worker and direct managers.

To make referrals you could ask your health team or self refer via - 

HIV Peer support group

The HIV peer support group meets once a month to support people with HIV. The group is completely confidential and gives you the opportunity to meet up with other people living with HIV and can offer you discreet advice and support to help you live your life.

These services are currently being developed to offer people in Hull and the surrounding areas educational workshops on living well with HIV. If you would like to get involved please contact the social worker.

You can find out more by contacting the specialist social worker via - 

Support organisations

Below are some useful organisations that can offer you support and further information on HIV and AIDS.

The National Aids Trust (NAT)

The National Aids Trust is dedicated to transforming the UK's response to HIV by

  • championing the rights of people living with HIV
  • campaigning for change
  • shaping attitudes
  • challenging injustice
  • changing lives.

Visit the National Aids Trust (NAT) website

Alternatively you can contact them via –

Terrence Higgins Trust

Terrence Higgins Trust has aimed to put its self at the forefront of the fight against HIV and improving the nation’s sexual health.

Visit the Terrence Higgins Trust website

Alternatively to learn more or get involved in what they do, you can contact them on their telephone helpline on 08088 021 221. (10am to 8pm Monday to Friday)

Conifer Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Services

Conifer Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Services is provided by City Health Care Partnership CIC,
The main base or hub is located in Hull city centre, on the fourth floor of The Wilberforce Health Centre (6-10 Story Street).
There are also a number of other clinics available across the region.

Visit the Conifer sexual and reproductive healthcare services website

Alternatively you can contact them via –

  • telephone 01482 247 111
  • text: CONIFER to 61825 (normal network rates apply)

The main base or hub is located -

4th floor

The Wilberforce Health Centre

Hull City Centre

6 to 10 Story Street



British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)

British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) provides advice and support on contraception, abortion and sexual health

Visit the BPAS website for more information

Alternatively, you can contact them via –

  • email
  • telephone: 03457 304 030 (open 24 hours a day, seven days a week)


For free sexual health services for young people aged 13-19, visit our Young People's Drop In at -

1 Ferensway

Hull, HU2 8NW

Alternatively, you contact us via

Visit the Cornerhouse website here

The LGBT Helpline

The LGBT+ helpline provides an information, support and referral service for lesbians, gay men, bisexual and trans (transgender, transsexual, transvestite) people.

You can telephone the helpline 03003 300 630, (10am to 11pm daily).

Visit the LGBT helpline website

Additional Support for Refugees

If you are a refugee and are living in Hull, then you can also access additional information and support from a number of originations

Learn more about support for refuges

Last reviewed: 15/05/2018