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Whittall Street Clinic is featured in Channel 4's new programme ‘The Sex Clinic’, starts 10pm Thursday 11th April.
New Rapid HIV Testing clinic at St Martin’s in the Bullring
Now open every Tuesday 11.00am - 3.15pm - no appointment needed.
The clinic is located upstairs in the St Martin’s Centre for Health & Healing next to the Church in the Bullring. Entrance to the clinic is via St Martin’s church shop.
Why is it important to be tested for HIV?
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can infect anyone who has engaged in unprotected sex. People infected with HIV will not have any illness or disease for many years. During this time, they remain healthy and are yet able to pass on HIV to their partners through unprotected sex.
HIV is an infection that destroys our immune system over a long period of time. There is currently no vaccine available against HIV. Although HIV treatment is now quite effective in controlling the infection, it is unable to eradicate it. That means HIV infected patients need to take their medicines indefinitely.
Un-diagnosed HIV infected patients will become very sick and may put their lives at serious risk.
In the UK, a third of HIV infected people are unaware of their infection. They are probably passing infection to others without being aware of this.
By testing for HIV, more patients will become aware of their infection and that may reduce further spread of infection.
Benefits of HIV testing
There are several benefits for HIV testing. If you tested negative for HIV, you can be reassured and have peace of mind.
If tested positive for HIV, you can start anti-HIV medicines on time, and protect your health from being seriously affected. You can also protect your partner’s(partners’) health by informing them to be tested for HIV.
We look after more than 1000 HIV positive patients link to HIV website at UHB. Our HIV centre is the largest in West Midlands. Our patients take the most modern and effective anti-HIV medicines. The treatment for most of our patients is simplified and requires small number of tablets to take each day.
A minority of HIV positive patients need complex treatment because of their medical conditions.
Who is at risk of HIV?
Many may still believe that HIV is an infection of drug users and gay men. This is not correct. Over the past 10 years, more heterosexual men and women have been diagnosed with HIV than gay men and drug users put together. It is now clear that anyone with history of unprotected sex may be at risk of HIV and should therefore be tested.
How often should I be tested for STI and HIV?
We believe you should get tested after each time you have had unprotected sex. Ideally, it is best to be tested with your partner before starting a sexual relationship. As long as neither of you have sex with anyone else, your negative STI test should be enough. You need to repeat STI testing each time you have sex with someone new.
What are the possible signs of HIV infection?
The majority of HIV infected individuals remain without symptoms throughout most of the duration of the infection. At the later stages of HIV infection, with the severe weakening of the immune system, patients will develop a number of medical conditions. The most common of diagnoses that may be seen in HIV infected individuals are: bacterial chest infection, oral thrush, shingles, weight loss, lymphoma, unexplained diarrhoea for longer than three weeks, unexplained fever for more than three weeks, tuberculosis infection, sexually transmitted infection (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomonas), hepatitis B virus infection, hepatitis C virus infection, persistent rash, enlarged lymph nodes, unexplained anaemia, unexplained low platelet count in blood (leading to easy bruising and bleeding) or unexplained low white cell count in blood. Individuals with any of the above diagnoses need to be tested for HIV infection. It is important to note that not everyone with the above diagnoses will have HIV.
What happens if your testing for HIV is delayed?
People who delay testing for HIV do not do themselves any favours. If already infected with HIV, delay in testing will not clear the virus but will allow the virus to destroy their defence (immune) system for longer.
How can we help you with HIV testing?
We routinely offer HIV testing to all our patients. The majority of patients (more than 98% in our clinic) will test negative for HIV.
Being tested for HIV will not impact on your insurance policy or mortgage.
We also offer rapid HIV testing for anxious patients. With rapid HIV tests, we can inform you of your test result within 20 minutes. Please ask our doctors or nurses for this test if you require one. Our St Martin’s clinic in the Bullring also offers rapid HIV testing for free.
In summary, not being tested for HIV will not remove infection in HIV positive individuals. Delaying the diagnosis of HIV will result in serious illness of the infected person and spread of infection to others. Getting tested is always the better option.
Other services we offer:
- Appointment within 2 normal working days for most of our patients
- Assisting you to inform your sexual partners if you have been diagnosed with an STI
- Confidential service
- Contraception advice and counselling
- Emergency contraception
- Free and accurate testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI)
- Free condoms
- Free treatment for STI
- HIV testing
- Pregnancy testing
- Prevention of HIV transmission after sex (PEPSE)
- Psychosexual clinics
- Sexual health information
- U16 services
- Vaccination for hepatitis B infection
- Victims of sexual assault
- Walk-in clinics