Testing Week Scotland 11-17 September 2017 »

… infection, treatment means you can do something about it

Today in Scotland a person living with HIV can live a long, healthy life, hepatitis C can be cured, and effective treatments are also available for a whole range of STIs


Staying on top of your sexual health means you can be confident about sex

Condoms and lube can protect you from the majority of sexually transmitted infections and PrEP is now available to people at greatest risk of HIV

If you are …

New HIV Self Testing Kits »

Self-test kits for HIV that give an instant result are legally on sale for the first time in Scotland.

The new kits are the first to provide an instant result, without the need to consult with a health worker or sending a sample to a lab, and have received the European safety and quality ‘CE’ mark.

They are available from www.hivselftest.co.uk and cost £29.99 plus postage and packaging.

The new kits …

Removal of restrictions on HIV Positive Healthcare Workers to practice exposure prone procedures »

In August 2013, a change in policy to remove restrictions on Healthcare Workers with HIV practising exposure-prone procedures was announced.  This change brings the UK into line with most other Western countries and reflects accumulated evidence that shows there is an extremely low risk of transmission from an infected Healthcare Worker to a patient.

For more information please click here.

Terrence Higgins Trust launches two new rapid HIV testing clinics in Lanarkshire »

HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland is to expland its network of rapid HIV testing clinics to include two locations in Lanarkshire.

The new sessions will run every Tuesday in Cumbernauld and every Thursday in East Kilbride. 

The Cumbernauld clinic will begin on Tuesday 28th January at Cumbernauld Health Centre, North Carbrain Road and will run from 5.00 p.m. to …

World Aids Day »

… December each year we raise awareness of World AIDS Day.  Around 90,000 people are living with HIV in the UK today, 96% of those diagnosed are now accessing treatment and 97% have viral suppression. Around 12% of people in the UK living with HIV don’t know they have it – making regular testing very important. HIV continues to disproportionately affect men who have sex with men as well as individuals of black African ethnicity, but HIV can affect anyone!

The red ribbon is the …

‘Always Hear’ – Scotland Wide HIV Awareness Campaign »

How does it feel to live with HIV in Scotland? The only way most of us can begin to understand is through listening to people who live with it every day.

Launched on World AIDS Day (Saturday 1 st December) is ‘ Always Hear’ Waverley Care’s new HIV awareness campaign. The campaign gives a voice to people living with HIV in Scotland using four films to capture the experiences of four people who are HIV positive. …

Circumcision »

… prevent build up of smegma under the foreskin.  It also leads to fewer infections including hiv.

Viral Load »

Your viral load is a measure of the amount of hiv present in your blood. The more HIV in your blood, the higher the viral load and the faster your CD4 cells are likely to disappear; and the greater the risk of disease progression.

Think of HIV as a car speeding towards an accident, which is the point at which you become ill. The viral load tells you how fast the car is speeding and the cd4 count shows how many miles of road are left …

Combination Therapy »

Not everyone who is HIV positive requires treatment.  The decision to start treatment is based on a number of factors including your CD4 count, your HIV Viral load and whether or not you have had any health problems so far that can be attributed to HIV infection.

Your HIV specialist will take all of the above into account, as well as how fast your CD4 count is falling, when recommending whether or not HIV

Cervical Cancer »

… sexual partners, the greater the risk. Smoking doubles the risk of developing cervical cancer. hiv infection, the development of aids and previous infection with genital warts can also increase the risk.

Preventative action

The early signs of cervical cancer can be detected with a cervical smear test, and the cancer can then be completely eliminated. The most important thing to do is to speak with your doctor about the necessity of arranging regular cervical smear testing, …

C Card Scheme »

… to anyone living, working or studying in Lanarkshire.

Condoms can help prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and can also help protect against unintended pregnancy.

Here are some frequently asked questions on what the scheme is about and how to use it.

Where do I get my C Card from?

You can pick up a C Card and leaflet from over 100 health centres, GP practices and pharmacies. Look for the sign – Free Condoms, No Fuss Available Here. …

Chlamydia »

… I best prevent infection?

The best way to prevent all sexually acquired infections, including HIV , is to practise safer sex. This means always using a condom for vaginal, anal or oral sex, or trying non- penetrative sex like massage or mutual masturbation instead.

You can also now access Chlamydia testing at a number of chemists across Lanarkshire.  To see which chemists are participating go to the Emergency Contraception Section.

NHS Health Scotland have produced …

Safer Sexual Health »

… for details call 0300 303 0251 (Line open Monday to Friday 9.00 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.)

Lanarkshire HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis Centre (LHAHC), Monklands Hospital -call 01236 712247 (24 hour service – calls answered or taken by answerphone)

Useful Helplines

National Sexual Health Line :  0800 567 123

LGBT Helpline Scotland : 0300 123 2523 (Line open Tuesday and Wednesday 12 noon to 9 pm) or go to www.lgbthealth.org.uk

Terrence Higgins Trust : 0808 802 1221 (Line …

The Folder »

The Folder is intended as a brief guide to HIV and its treatment. It is for people who have been diagnosed HIV positive and who are attending the Lanarkshire HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis Centre (LHAHC).

Click here for more information


World Aids Day 2010 »

… – show your support, wear a red ribbon

The theme for World AIDS Day this year is " HIV – Act Aware" – the hope for this year is to encourage all of us to commit to actions that will help improve understanding about HIV, prevent transmission of HIV and stop HIV prejudice. 

The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, has recorded a message in respect of World AIDS Day 2010 and this can be viewed at the following link:


Going on Holiday? »

… is important to remember to protect yourself from Sexually Transmitted Infections ( STI ) and HIV.  Before you head off on holiday if you need a supply of your regular contraception to take with you then contact your local sexual health clinic on 0300 303 0251 (Line open Monday to Friday 9.00 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.).  If you are looking for condoms then please use our Free Condoms, No Fuss Service, for more information on where to obtain your free condoms please go to the …

Black & Minority Ethnic sites »

… UK sites


NAM have information for people living with HIV available in a number of different languages including: Arabic, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swedish, Thai and Turkish.


The Terence Higgins Trust have launched Mambo online, a website dedicated to raising awareness of HIV and sexual health specifically among African communities. …

Syphilis »

… OF SYPHILIS IN LANARKSHIRE ARE RISING** for more information, please see;  https://www.lanarkshirehivandhepatitis.org/syphilis/

What is it?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that affects both men and women, and it is caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum.

What happens if I have Syphilis?

Syphilis affects the body in stages, but often you may have no symptoms at all.

Primary stage (10 days – 6 weeks) is usually a small, red …

HIV & Hepatitis Clinics »

The main HIV treatment clinic in Lanarkshire takes place on a Tuesday afternoon at the Lanarkshire HIV, AIDS & Hepatitis Service (LHAHS), Monklands Hospital.

The clinic is provided by specialist doctors and nurses who are trained in HIV management. For HIV testing, appointments can generally be more flexible. The secretaries will try to give you an appointment time that suits you.

Once …

Prevention »

… does not have cracked and bleeding nipples and/or there is no evidence of co-infection with HIV. If you are hepatitis C positive you should discuss what will be best for you with your doctor and midwife.

Injecting drug use and Hepatitis

Even spots of blood too small to be seen by the human eye can carry enough of a virus to infect someone. Using syringes and any other part of the injecting equipment, including needle, spoon, filter and water that have previously been used by …

Treatment »

… progression and the risk of liver cancer is increased.

Co-infection of viral hepatitis with HIV

When referring to people with HIV and chronic viral hepatitis, it is common to use the term “co-infection”.


Once someone has is tested and diagnosed positive with Hepatitis C they will be referred to the specialist treatment services to be assessed for treatment.  There are two main Hepatitis treatment services in Lanarkshire. These are:

Hairmyres Hepatitis …

Prevention »

… testing for Hepatitis and other blood borne viruses in Lanarkshire (including Hepatitis C and HIV ):

NHS Lanarkshire Harm Reduction Team

Provide information and testing on all blood borne viruses and provide access to and disposal of sterile injecting equipment.  For further information contact:

The Harm Reduction Team on 01236 441067

South Outreach Team on 07884 454 961

North Outreach Team on 07810 153 940

NHS Lanarkshire Sexual and Reproductive Health Services …

Vaccination and Treatment »

… In Lanarkshire, treatment for hepatitis B infection is usually co-ordinated through Lanarkshire HIV, AIDS & Hepatitis Service (LHAHS) or the Hepatology Service at Hairmyres Hospital.

Co-infection of viral hepatitis with HIV

When referring to people with HIV and chronic viral hepatitis, it is common to use the term “co-infection”.


Once someone has is tested and diagnosed positive with Hepatitis B they will be referred to the specialist treatment services to …

HIV and the Law »

If you have HIV it's important to make sure that you have a clear picture of the law as things are changing all the time.

Click on the following link to see up to date information HIV and the law including what the law says, recent court cases and support and information: www.tht.org.uk/informationresources/prosecutions/

CD4 Counts »

… blood, with women having naturally slightly higher counts than men.

When you are infected with HIV, it takes over some of your CD4 cells and uses them to produce more HIV. This reduces the total number of CD4 cells available to fight other infections.

Monitoring CD4 Counts

Even while someone with HIV feels well, millions of CD4 cells are being invaded and destroyed by HIV daily and millions more are being produced to replace them. Over a number of years, the CD4 count usually …

Resistance Testing »

… routinely.  Resistance testing shows whether or not a given drug is effective against your HIV virus.  It may tell you whether you have been infected with a drug-resistant strain of HIV, and also if you are resistant to  drugs you are currently taking, or have taken in the past and then initially start to benefit from these medications.  Resistance is the ability of HIV to overcome the effects of anti-HIV medication.  The best way to avoid drug resistance developing is to make …

Starting Therapy »

One of the most important discussions you will have with your HIV specialist concerns the choice of anti-HIV drugs for a first combination. The choice of anti-HIV drugs should be guided by your wishes as well as those of the doctor. 

There are a variety of possibilities and you and your HIV specialist should try and work through them to give you as much choice as possible.

Different drugs require different regimens (what combination, when and with …

Choosing a Combination »

… person’s medical situation, lifestyle and personal preferences will affect their choice of anti- HIV drugs. As with all aspects of your health, it is important to discuss with your HIV doctor which combination would best suit your needs.

Some of the issues you may need to consider when choosing drugs for your combination are outlined on the next few pages.

Choose a combination that will best reduce your viral load

The combination of drugs you choose should be strong enough to …

Taking the Drugs »

… drugs every day, being careful about when and what you eat with your drugs, regular visits to an HIV clinic for medical check-ups and blood tests, and the possibility of experiencing side effects can all get in the way of your usual lifestyle.

It’s a good idea to think about how taking or changing combination therapy will affect your routine, and whether you are ready to make those changes. You may also find it useful to think about who and where you can turn to for support in adhering …

When to Change »

… needs to be changed.

There are a number of reasons why a particular combination of anti- HIV drugs fails. These include poor adherence to the drugs and sub-optimal blood levels of anti-HIV drugs.  In the latter case, drug levels may be low in some patients because of an individual’s physiology and not their adherence to the regimen. The therapy is not failing because of the development of drug-resistant HIV, but because the drugs are being absorbed at a rate different from …

Stopping Therapy »

… reduces viral load levels in your body, giving your immune system some protection from HIV and an opportunity to recover from the damage caused by HIV.

When people have stopped taking combination therapy, most have found that their viral load increases, eventually returning to the level it was before they started.  More worryingly, the immune system starts to deteriorate as well!

If you decide to stop, despite the risks, you should consult your HIV doctor. In most cases, it …

Women’s Issues »

Gynaecological problems are the most commonly reported conditions for women living with HIV or AIDS. Many of the problems women with HIV experience also affect HIV negative women.

However, these conditions usually occur more frequently and are more serious and more difficult to treat in women with damaged immune systems.

Cervical pre-cancers are changes to cells in the cervix, which, if left untreated, would become cancerous. Cervical cancer is a preventable …

The HIV Test »

Having an HIV Antibody Test

If you are thinking of having the test, or if you are advised that you need to take the test for health reasons, you will be given the opportunity to speak to a trained staff member prior to and after you take the test.

This gives you the chance to talk about why you want to take the test and the feelings you might have when you receive your result, whether the result …

If the Test is Negative »

HIV antibodies can take up to three months to develop.

If you have been at risk recently, you will need to have another test in a few months to make sure you have not developed antibodies since you had the first test. Click one of the links below for more information.

For more information you could contact the

Lanarkshire HIV, AIDS & Hepatitis Centre

t: 01236 712247 / 712246 …

If the Test is Positive »

If the test is positive it means that the antibodies to HIV have been found in your blood and you are infected with HIV. Every positive result is then sent to a special lab for a double check of the result. 

A second blood sample will also be sent just to be absolutely sure. People infected with HIV are said to be HIV positive.

Telling people I’m HIV positive.

If someone is HIV positive, that information is personal to them. It should …

Blood »

HIV has also been passed on from infected blood and blood products made from blood.

However, there are now very effective measures in place to stop this from happening in the NHS.

There have been a handful of recorded cases in which HIV was passed after skin was pierced by a needle which contained fresh blood containing HIV. Almost all of these incidents occurred in health care settings.

Alcohol and HIV »

Drinking alcohol is very much a social activity. Alcohol can make people feel sexy, happy and uninhibited.

People can do things they’d never think of doing when sober, like having unprotected sex . It can be difficult to make informed decisions when you’ve been drinking. It is a good idea to carry condoms with you at all times, just in case. …

Drugs and HIV »

… inject drugs. You are at risk if blood from an infected person gets into your bloodstream.

HIV lives in the blood. Small amounts of blood may stay in or on the injecting equipment (needles, syringes, spoons, water or filters). In this way it can get into the blood of the next person who uses the equipment. Drugs can make people feel sexy, less inhibited and more likely to have sex. Protect yourself and your partner by using condoms every time you have sex.

You can buy new …

Pregnancy and HIV »

The chance of an HIV Positive mother transmitting her infection to her baby can be reduced from 15 – 25% to less that 2 – 3% if appropriate  interventions are used. 

These would include the mother taking HIV medicines (some but not all are safe in pregnancy ) to reduce her viral load, avoidance of prolonged labour (caesarean section often recommended), no breastfeeding, HIV medication for the baby …

Condoms! »

… transmitted infections out there and some of them you might not even know you have. Also, HIV is on the rise among young people in the West of Scotland and there is still no cure for it. More heterosexual people than gay people are getting HIV, and a lot of those are younger people. If you are having penetrative sex, the only way to be sure of avoiding all these is to use a condom or a femidom, preferably with a water based lubricant to make sure it doesn’t burst. Most …

Am I Ready For Sex? »

… all people having sex there is a risk of picking up a sexually transmitted infection or even HIV.

There is also an emotional side to having sex, because you don’t just have sex with someone’s body, you also have sex with their minds and this can make you or your partner(s) have very strong feelings.

Maybe you need to ask yourself if you’re ready to be dealing with those kinds of feelings which can range from delight and joy and happiness, to feeling very close and intimate to …

Anus and Rectum »

… numerous infections which are outlined in detail elsewhere on this site under the headings of HIV - AIDS - Hepatitis and Infections. It is useful to make yourself aware of the dangers involved upon becoming infected, and take the precautions outlined in the Safer Sex section of the site. It is safer to use a condom for penetrative anal sex, one that is designed to be strong enough for this activity like Durex Ultra Strong, Mates Super Strong or HT Specials. These work better with a …

Hearing Impairment »

… of issues including:

General sexual health.

Pregnancy and Contraception.


Sexuality and relationships.

Safer sex for men and women.

It is hoped that the range and availability of resources for deaf people, particularly utilising information technology and the internet, will soon be increased. Also BDA is continuing a campaign to have British Sign Language more widely recognized and incorporated into standard communications.

For more …

Illicit Drugs »

… equipment carries a high risk of contracting a number of serious infections /viruses including HIV and Hepatitis C.  What some people don’t realise is that the risk is not just limited to injecting equipment, but can also be passed through the paraphernalia that is used to sniff drugs.  Infection can be passed through bank notes or straws that are used to sniff drugs, but also through water, cups and spoons.  To keep you safe, never share equipment used to take drugs.

Heroin …

Poppers »

… vessels inside a man’s (or woman’s) anus expand or bleed. This can make it more likely for  HIV  to be passed on if a negative person uses poppers while having sex with a man with HIV (The negative person is more at risk if being penetrated).

Poppers are highly flammable.