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HIV and Aids

HIV and Aids

What is HIV / AIDS?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) attacks the immune system and weakens a person’s ability to fight infections and disease. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the final stage of HIV infection (when the body can no longer fight life-threatening infections).


HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person, which includes blood, semen and breast milk. HIV infection can be passed on:

  • Through unprotected sex,
  • Using/sharing a contaminated needle, syringe or other injecting equipment,
  • Transmission from mother to baby (before or during birth, or by breastfeeding).
  • Through blood or blood products.

Benefits of testing

  • Although there is no cure for HIV, there are treatments to enable people with the infection to live a long and healthy life with normal life expectancy. This means a person diagnosed early with HIV and receiving antiretroviral treatment can expect to live as long as someone without the infection.
  • Medication, known as antiretroviral treatment, works by slowing down the damage the virus does to the immune system and delaying/stopping the infection progressing into full blown AIDS.
  • Medication has improved vastly and the latest medication involves taking just 1-2 tablets once a day.

The test is quick and free and will help you get access to essential treatment immediately. See below, for details of where you can get tested.

Late diagnosis

Up to 1/3rd of people that have an HIV infection do not know they are infected and are missing vital treatment to improve their health. Those who are diagnosed late are 8 – 10 times more likely to die within a year after late diagnosis, and the cost of medical treatment is almost double. Not only is late diagnosis more damaging for the infected individual but it also greatly increases the risk of unintentionally transmitting the infection to loved ones.

HIV in Barking and Dagenham

Barking and Dagenham is a high prevalence area. As of 2011, there were 660 people living with HIV in Barking and Dagenham (a prevalence rate of 5.47/1000).  This means that for every 1,000 people living in Barking and Dagenham, at least 5 will have HIV.

58% of HIV positive residents were ‘diagnosed late – the 3rd highest rate of late diagnosis in London.

Where our residents can get tested:

Sexual Health Centre, Barking Community Hospital (formerly known as the Sydenham Centre)Upney Lane, Barking, IG11 9LX. Call 020 8924 6400 to find walk-in times and book an appointment.

Oxlow Lane Health CentreDagenham, RM10 7YU. Tel: 01708 503 838.

Queen’s HospitalOutpatients Team 5, Rom Valley Way, Romford, RM7 0AG. Call 01708 503 838 to find walk-in times and book an appointment.

Loxford Polyclinic417 Ilford Lane IG1 2PF. Wednesdays and Fridays 5pm-7.30pm. Just drop in, or call 020 8822 3700.

Department of Sexual HealthWhipps Cross Hospital,  Whipps Cross Road, Leytonstone, E11 1NR. Tel: 020 8535 6535.

Sexual Health ServiceOliver Road Polyclinic, 75 Oliver Road, Leyton, E10 5LG. Tel: 020 8430 8201.

Harold Hill Health Centre,Gooshays Drive, Romford, RM3 9SU. Tel: 01708 503 838.

Your GP surgery.

Further Information see below,

Terrence Higgins Trust http://www.tht.org.uk/