HIV is most commonly passed on through unprotected sex. It can also be transmitted by coming into contact with infected blood – for example, sharing needles to inject steroids or drugs.
The HIV virus attacks and weakens the immune system, making it less able to fight infections and disease. There's no cure for HIV, but there are treatments that allow most people to live a long and otherwise healthy life.
AIDS is the final stage of an HIV infection, when your body can no longer fight life-threatening infections.
Most people with HIV look and feel healthy and have no symptoms. When you first develop HIV, you may experience a flu-like illness with a fever, sore throat or rash. This is called a seroconversion illness.
A simple blood test is usually used to test for an HIV infection. Some clinics may also offer a rapid test using a finger-prick blood test or saliva sample.
A helpful guide about PrEP (pre-exposure-prophylaxis) can be found here. PrEP is a course of HIV drugs taken before sex to reduce the risk of getting HIV. It could one day be widely available to those who are at high risk of coming into contact with the virus.
HIV testing and HIV post sexual exposure treatment (PEP) is only available at Falcon Road (near Clapham Junction station).
Call our booking and information line: 0333 300 2100
Lines open 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday. A recorded message gives useful information outside these hours. Our busiest time is between 8am and 10am, if you can call outside these times please do. We may still have same day appointments available if you call later.
In Wandsworth, we work with Metro to provide advice and support for HIV positive residents. Support includes advice, advocacy, counselling, health information and a peer support group.
More information via the Metro website
Clinical support for HIV positive people is provided by local hospitals:
St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
If you have no symptoms and want a straightforward test you can:
This is a quick, easy and confidential way to screen for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis.
Call our appointments line for more information about sexual health services in Merton, Richmond and Wandsworth.
0333 300 2100 (Mon-Fri 8am-7pm).
Read more about HIV and AIDS and coping with a positive HIV test via the NHS Choices website