With our programme of workshops, one to one support and groups, help is never far away Read More. Our recently diagnosed weekend workshops are here to help you gain a better understanding of HIV, talk about treatment options and discuss living with HIV as part of everyday life. Dates and further information can be found here. All our peer mentors are living with HIV themselves and are trained to provide a comprehensive package of emotional and practical support around all aspects of living with HIV.
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For more information please email info positivelyuk. Facilitated by staff and mentors, the group provides a safe, friendly and welcoming space for you to get peer support, build life skills, have fun and socialise. Each month focusses on a different theme and we lay on a free lunch! Details of upcoming events can be found on the Calendar of Events. Email Chris on cohanlon positivelyuk. For those looking for an evening social space to meet and mingle with other guys living with HIV, Gay Talk Social takes place on the third Thursday of every month Read More.
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To know where the next one is taking place and what is planned see the Calendar of Events. Email Jim on JFielder positivelyuk. If you are experiencing financial difficulties or need support around welfare, our benefits advisor can help Read More. Our benefits advise team can check your benefit entitlements, help you to complete the necessary forms, advocate with the Department of Work and Pensions and your local council and attend medical assessments with you.
Appointments are available by request. If you want to meet one of our staff or mentors in your hospital or health clinic, we provide peer support in several London clinics Read More. Homerton Hospital — Every Monday. Royal Free Hospital — Every Monday. Ealing Hospital — 1st Tuesday of the month. Royal London Hospital — Every Tuesday.
Northwick Park Hospital — Every Thursday. Charing Cross hospital — Alternate Wednesdays.
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For more details contact Garry Brough on or email gbrough positivelyuk. For information about other volunteering opportunities with us please email info positivelyuk. A gay or bisexual man? Want more information or to talk to someone? HIV human immunodeficiency virus is a virus that attacks the immune system. It is a transmissible virus that is present in blood, genital fluids semen, vaginal fluids, and moisture in the rectum and breast milk.
It is mainly passed on to someone else during unprotected anal, vaginal and oral sex or by sharing injecting equipment. A weakened immune system leaves the body more vulnerable to attack by a range of different diseases and opportunistic infections. HIV medication can stop the virus damaging the immune system altogether. They suppress the levels of the virus in your body down to very tiny amounts until they are so low as to be undetectable in blood samples, which is the goal of treatment. As long as you take your medication correctly at the times prescribed known as adherence you can expect the virus to stay at this very low level indefinitely.
HIV is not an easy virus to catch sexually, but if you are worried that you may have been exposed to a risk the first thing you should do is go to your doctor or a sexual health clinic and get an HIV test. If you do this straight away and within 72 hours you may also be prescribed PEP post exposure prophylaxis which can stop the virus before it has a chance to take hold.
PEP is also available at any hospital Accident and Emergency department. HIV is found in body fluids including genital fluids vaginal fluids, semen and moisture in the rectum , and blood. The main ways that HIV is passed on are through unprotected anal or vaginal sex and by sharing injecting equipment. Performing oral sex may pose a small risk if there are sores or bleeding gums, as this provides an easy route for infection, but the person with HIV would need to have high virus levels viral load to make this likely.
Condoms provide excellent protection against HIV transmission during sex.
Effective HIV treatment, which reduces viral load, has been shown to reduce the risk of transmission. Saliva, spit, urine and faeces are not infectious for HIV. You cannot get HIV from kissing, hugging, or by shaking hands with somebody with HIV — or any other normal social contact. Nor can you get HIV by being in the same place as someone with HIV, or by sharing household items such as crockery, cutlery, or bed linen.
HIV is not passed on by spitting, sneezing or coughing. Many sexual situations have no risk of transmitting HIV such as masturbation, receiving oral sex and vaginal or anal sex using a condom. If you think you may have exposed someone to HIV, then you should let them know as soon as possible. This gives them the opportunity to take PEP post exposure prophylaxis which, if taken within 72 hours, can kill off the virus before it has a chance to take hold. Further information on risks of transmission can be found at aidsmap and i-base.
HIV treatment is now more effective and simpler to take than ever before. It involves far fewer if any side effects and usually fewer pills. New studies show that if people take treatment as recommended they can expect to live as long a life as anybody else. And taking pills at the same time every day might seem like hard work, but you soon get used to it. Living with a chronic condition such as HIV means that you need to do the things that doctors would recommend to everyone: These are all important, particularly as we grow older.
For more information on HIV and quality of life go to i-base. Some people become anxious about passing HIV on, or feel less desirable. While some people may go off sex altogether for a time, others might instead look for it more and more. It may seem more important than ever to feel wanted or to have moments of intimacy and pleasure. Whatever the HIV status of your partner, the success of a relationship will probably be determined more by shared interests rather than HIV status.
Most people living with HIV do continue to have sex and form relationships. However, condoms are important for your health too — they will protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Some infections, such as hepatitis C, can be more difficult to treat when you have HIV. Do I have to disclose my status to my partner, family, friends and work colleagues? Talking about our HIV and disclosing our status to others is one of the most challenging things about living with HIV.
Deciding who and how to tell can feel very daunting, especially when we are first diagnosed. There are lots of different people we might want to disclose to: Here are some general tips on how to go about this. For more information and things to consider with particular audiences, download our Talking about HIV factsheet. When will I need to start treatment and how will it make me feel? HIV infection progresses at very different rates in different people, but nearly everyone who is HIV positive will need treatment at some time.
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