Reception staff are your first point of contact with the clinic. They will make your appointments and answer your telephone calls. They will put you in touch with the appropriate person if you have a query.
Medical needs vary for different people at different times. The doctor who sees you can provide:
Medical information about HIV and current recommendations for follow-up and treatment.
A full medical assessment including history, examination, routine blood tests and any other investigations required.
Explain the results of your tests and advise you on the most appropriate action and follow-up.
Discuss the possible options for starting or changing anti-HIV therapy.
Provide practical support to minimise side effects and help adherence to treatment regimes.
Assess any problems that arise which may be related to HIV or HIV treatments.
Sexual health screening and advice.
Arrange appropriate referral to other specialists.
Arrange inpatient care for investigation and treatment if this is required.
The doctors work closely with the other clinical staff so you should feel free to approach any staff member if you have any medical concerns.
The HIV pharmacist works closely with your doctor and routinely sees people for medical and practical information about HIV and anti-HIV treatment. They can discuss the possible options when starting or changing anti-HIV therapy and provide practical support to minimise any side effects and help adherence to treatment regimes. They have a wide range of resources to help support people in taking their medication.
The health advisers see:
They are able to provide health advice on issues such as lifestyles and safer sex.
There are many organisations providing services and information for people affected by HIV. The health advisers can assist you in finding the most appropriate service for your needs.
The health advisers can also provide support and information to partners, family members and friends of HIV positive clients.
Living with HIV can be both emotionally and physically demanding. If appropriate they can refer you to the clinic's clinical psychologist, or re-assess your needs whenever things are difficult. eg if someone's condition progresses to needing to start treatment.
Diet is an important consideration for people with HIV infection as good nutrition can have a positive benefit in many ways. The dietician can provide a complete nutritional assessment or give advice on individual issues such as:
Achieving a balanced diet.
Managing symptoms such as loss of appetite, diarrhoea and weight loss.
Food hygiene and safety.
Complementary dietary practices.
Use of vitamin and mineral supplements.
Use of prescribed and nutritional supplements.
Nutrition and drug therapy.
Eating well on a limited budget.
If you would like to make an appointment please speak with the doctor, health adviser or nurse.
The HIV nurses routinely sees patients requiring:
Blood tests, e.g. CD4 & viral load tests.
Routine assessments, e.g. sexual health screening
To collect/arrange medication.
They will advise about all practical aspects of HIV management and answer any queries you have in relation to your care, as well as liaising with other team members e.g. the dietician and community nurses. If your condition is stable you may have some of your regular monitoring and check-ups done by the HIV nurses rather than the doctor.
Some times people can feel upset, anxious or depressed. These feelings can be linked to living with HIV, for example starting treatment or coping with symptoms such as tiredness or pain. Or it may be that people are having difficulties due to issues which anyone might face for example, the break up of a relationship.
If you are feeling upset, anxious or depressed, talk to your doctor, nurse or health adviser about seeing the clinical psychologist. The clinical psychologist will arrange a time to meet with you and talk about the difficulties that you are having.
The clinical psychologist can help by offering guidance and advice on ways for you to tackle the problems that you are having. Read more information about this service
The community specialist nurse works in the community to meet your health needs. She can advise you on general health matters related to HIV. Many people want their general practitioner kept informed of their health status and this can be particularly important if you are on any HIV medications.
If you are happy for your GP to be kept informed of your HIV medical care the consultant can provide a confidential summary of your medical care. Alternatively, with your permission, the specialist nurse can liaise between the clinic and your GP when necessary. She can help you find and register with a local GP if you do not already have one.
Regular dental check-ups help minimise the risk of oral problems if you are HIV positive. If you feel unable to tell your dentist that you are HIV positive we can arrange for you to attend a confidential HIV dental session with a community dental practitioner. For further information ask any team member.
Social services are provided by a specialist care manager for the borough in which you live. People can speak to them direct and in confidence. Help available includes help to live independently at home, personal care, direct payments, equipment and help with travel.
The South London Partnership offers four main services:
Advice and advocacy-offering
free, impartial and independent advice on housing, welfare benefits, employment, debt and immigration
Counselling: one to one, couple or family therapy sessions
HIV health support service where you can gain more knowledge about HIV, its affects on your body and how treatment works.
Peer support is also available at:
Milestones Peer Support Group
St Winefreds Church Hall
Contact Eric on 07881 943 324 or Pat on 07900 924 114, visit their website for more information or ask the clinic staff for details.
There is normally someone available to answer the clinic telephones Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and on Tuesday from 9am-7pm. However sometimes answer machines are in use in busy clinic sessions or if staff are seeing patients.
Access to medical care at the clinic
Routine HIV appointments are available by appointment only. If you wish to arrange an appointment then remember to ask for an "HIV appointment" as this will ensure the correct doctor sees you.
If you have an urgent problem then telephone the clinic and ask to speak to the HIV nurse or a health adviser.
Out of hours
For non-urgent problems contact your GP or the clinic at St Helier Hospital on the next working day.
If you need urgent medical advice when the clinic is closed you should contact your GP, or attend your local accident and emergency department.
The GUM department at St Helier Hospital is part of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, and inpatient facilities are provided at St Helier Hospital. If inpatient care is necessary either for further investigations or treatment, then your doctor will arrange admission to one of the wards. The clinic team will liaise closely with the doctors on the ward to co-ordinate your care.
With some health conditions, we may need to transfer people to the clinical infections unit at St George's Hospital in Tooting for specialist care.
First Point provides HIV health support, counselling, peer support and advice and advocacy (dealing with immigration and housing/money issues). Every Thursday, one of their support workers runs a client clinic here at St Helier Hospital.
Milestones is a peer support group which is very popular with our clients.
The Terrence Higgins Trust provides loads of patient info, advocacy and support.
NAM provides up to the minute info on all aspects of treatment and care.
Positive Parenting and Children is an organisation for children and families living with HIV and AIDS. They offer support, advice, befriending and short breaks.
Swagnet is a website provided by all the local GUM clinics and is a source of up to date info.