Q. What should I do if I’m worried I have HIV?

A. It is important to get an HIV test as soon as possible if you think you might have HIV. Even if you do not have any symptoms you can still have a test.

You will be offered an HIV test when you attend our sexual health walk-in clinic at Jefferiss.

Q. How can I get an HIV test?

If you would like an HIV test, you can walk in to our sexual health clinic or book an appointment.

If it isn't convenient for you to visit Jefferiss at St Mary's Hospital, you can check SH24 or NHS.uk for a more suitable clinic in your area where you can be tested for HIV.

Q. What should I do if I might have recently been exposed to HIV?

A. Condoms are the best way to protect yourself against HIV. On some occasions, though, you may not use a condom or the condom may break. If this happens, you may be eligible for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP is a 28-day course of anti-HIV medication which can drastically reduce the chances of you becoming HIV-positive following a high-risk exposure. To access PEP, visit either a sexual health clinic such as the walk-in service in Jefferiss or your local A&E department within 72 hours. The sooner you start PEP the more effective it will be.

Q. How long does it take before the HIV infection will show up in my blood sample?

A. Our tests can’t detect HIV immediately after infection. In fact, it can take four to 12 weeks before it becomes detectable, depending on the type of HIV test taken. This period is called the "window period".  If you are tested for HIV during the window period, we may ask you to re-test after 12 weeks.

Q. What does the test involve?

A. We have two types of HIV tests here at Jefferiss:

  • the point of care test (POCT test) involves taking a very small sample of blood from a finger prick. This test gives a result within minutes, but has a window period of 12 weeks. If you are worried about an incident less than 12 weeks ago, this test is not for you.
  • the blood test involves taking a sample of blood from your arm which we send to Jefferiss' laboratory. The result takes about five days to come back but the four-week window period is only four weeks.

Q. Additional information for patients

A. Please see these links and leaflets from trusted sources for helpful information about living with HIV:

Q. Am I at risk of HIV?

A. The risk of HIV depends on:

  • the type of sex you have had
  • the likelihood that your partner is HIV-positive
  • if your partner is HIV positive, whether they are on HIV treatment or not 
  • If you have a regular partner who is HIV positive and on treatment who is taking all their doses of HIV medication and has ‘undetectable virus’ in the blood Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U).

If you think you recently been exposed to HIV (within 72 hours) you may be eligible for PEP (Link to PrEP PEP on website) you can walk in to our clinic or book by calling 0203 312 1225. 

If you are taking on going risks of HIV please read about PrEP on hour website or book via by calling 0203 312 1225 or book online