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Date: 27 September 2023

Time: 21:42

Health advisors

Newly diagnosed?

At your first clinic visit to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, you will be introduced to the Health Advisor for a one-to-one discussion. If you have been to Whittall Street Clinic you may recognise us as we work across both sites.

If this is your first visit to an HIV clinic, it is normal to have a lot of questions and worries. Being diagnosed with HIV can be confusing and upsetting, and you may be feeling a whole range of emotions. The health advisors will try to answer any questions you may have.

Some people find it helpful to write any questions down when they think of them, and then bring them to clinic.

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Support for you and your loved ones

Health advisors will discuss with you any support you have already, and will be able to refer you on to a range of support services around Birmingham if you feel this would be helpful to you. They will discuss ways of informing family or friends, and can arrange testing for any sexual partners or children.

For some people, telling partners about their HIV infection is incredibly difficult. If you feel you need help in talking to your partner about HIV, the Health Adviser can discuss ways with you.

If there are sexual partners that you feel unable to talk to about your diagnosis, we are able to contact them anonymously on your behalf to offer them testing. Please let the health advisors know if you want to arrange this.

If you have children, you may be advised that they need to be tested for HIV, as HIV can pass from mother to baby. Very good treatments are available which will help protect your child if they are found to be HIV positive, but it is important that the infection is found as early as possible. The Health Advisor will support you with this, and will be able to arrange testing for your children if they are in the UK.

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Starting a family

It is possible for people with HIV to have a baby. However, it is important that you discuss this with a doctor and health advisor before you start trying, as there are steps that need to be taken to protect yourself, your partner and the baby. The health advisor will be happy to discuss this with you.

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If you wish to have a sexual health screen, the health advisors can arrange this for you. It is advised that you have a full screen for all sexually transmitted infections when you are first diagnosed, and if you have unprotected sex, as other infections can show no symptoms but can cause long term damage to your health if not found early. If you require treatment for other infections this can be given to you in clinic.

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Safer sex

The health advisors will also offer you advice for the future, about how to have a healthy sex life while living with HIV. We advise that once someone has been diagnosed with HIV it is important for them to use condoms or femidoms for all types of sex. This will protect them against other infections, and help protect any partners, even if they are also HIV positive.

The health advisers will advise you on how to use condoms if you are unsure, and can provide you with a supply of condoms to take home.

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Help, my condom broke

If you have had a condom break please see the post exposure prophylaxis after sexual exposure to HIV (PEPSE) section in the related links box.

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Where to now?

Once you have settled into regular visits at the clinic, the Health Advisor will ask you to complete a form once every three months. This is just to identify any needs you may have, so that we don't miss seeing you in clinic. If you prefer not to complete the form, or have any further questions about it, please inform the nurses and the health advisors will see you in person.

If you have any further questions about HIV or other sexually transmitted infections, please call us on 0121 237 5732.

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