The government made an announcement on 1 November 2020 of a new national lockdown. Please review updated governmental advice carefully.
The recent governmental announcements have not included a recommendation of a return to shielding for those labelled as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’. In the context of HIV the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group includes patients with a CD4 count of <50, or who have had an opportunistic illness (a serious illness due to suppression of the immune system) in the last 6 months. Patients should already be aware of whether or not they are in this category, but should get in touch with us if they have any queries (contact details below). The main piece of advice that is different for the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ patient group in the context of the new lockdown, is that if patients in this group are unable to work from home, then they are advised not to go to work for the duration of the lockdown. A letter should be coming from the government, and once we have this available we will ensure that all our ‘clinically extremely vulnerable patients’ living with HIV receive a copy. If there is a recommendation to fully shield in future then we or other organisations will write directly to patients informing them of this.
Extra care should be taken for patients living with HIV who have a detectable HIV viral load or a CD4 count of <200.
Our service is open and outpatient HIV clinics have largely been reinstated following the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with some limitations on the number of patients we can actually see in clinic. We do not know as to what changes to the service may be required during the second wave.
If HIV positive patients develop symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperatures above 37.8oC, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) then, as with other patients, they should stay at home and seek a COVID-19 nose/throat test. If positive, patients should self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms. Other members of their household should isolate for 14 days from the date of the positive test.
If patients have symptoms of COVID then they should not attend the hospital for outpatient HIV care. Patients should still ensure that they have 30 days’ supply of their HIV medication at all times.
Up to date government advice on Coronavirus can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
If there are HIV related queries for the HIV team at North Bristol NHS Trust (Southmead) then we would prefer that patients email email@example.com, or alternatively phone 0117 4146400 if they cannot email.
Information on coronavirus specific to HIV patients can be found on the British HIV Association (BHIVA) website.
HIV Medicine Service
The North Bristol NHS Trust HIV Service is based at Southmead Hospital Bristol.
Where patients are known to be HIV positive they should be referred to the HIV specialist nurses via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An HIV test can be done in many different healthcare settings, including at the GP and Bristol Sexual Health Centre. Early diagnosis and treatment has many health benefits.
Where there may be particular concerns around HIV testing, our team would be happy to discuss this.
For confidential HIV testing and sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening contact the Unity Sexual Health Centre on 0117 3426900 (website: https://www.unitysexualhealth.co.uk/). Patients may order free STI tesing kits for home use (if aged 16 or over and living in Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire) at https://www.unitysexualhealth.co.uk/test-kit/. For some people it may be more appropriate to get an HIV test in a sexual health clinic.
Acutely ill HIV patients should be discussed with the HIV team or the hospital HIV on-call team for admission, contactable via switchboard.
- Suspected acute HIV infection
- Post-Exposure Prophylaxis after Sexual Exposure to HIV (PEPSE) - referrals taken from other healthcare providers
- Chronic HIV infection
Note this service is only for patients living with HIV and for those referred from other healthcare providers for continuation/discontinuation of PEPSE.
Appointment Clinic Times are:
Monday 12.00pm – 4.00pm
Tuesday 2.00pm – 6.00pm
Wednesday 12.00pm – 4.00pm
Thursday 8.00am – 12.00pm
HIV Medicine Team
Dr Mark Gompels - Lead Clinician
Telephone (secretary): 0117 4146395
Dr Sarah Johnston
Dr Philip Bright
Dr Sathish Thomas (Tuesday and on call)
Dr Adele Wolujewicz (until June 2020)
Dr Ed Moran (from June 2020)
Dr Sarah Golding
Jo Latimer (Pharmacist)
Arianwen Denham (Pharmacist)
Lisa Atkins (Pharmacy Technician)
Clinical Nurse Specialists/Health Advisors
Louise Jennings - Lead
Lana Ward – Support
Tel: 0117 4146394
Susan Allan (Database)
HIV Medicine Service Useful Links
The team at NAM (National AIDS Manual) produce and distribute accurate, up-to-date and evidence-based resources (printed, electronic, audio and online), covering both the medical and social aspects of HIV, to people living with HIV and to those who work to treat, support and care for them. Visit www.aidsmap.com for more information.
Medicines interactions checker: https://www.hiv-druginteractions.org/checker
A charity called Brigstowe, based in Bristol, are dedicated to the help of patients living with HIV. As well as lots of information about HIV Brigstowe offer the following to patients living with HIV:
A one-to-one advice and support service
A migrant and asylum service
Group peer support
One-to-one peer support
Clinic peer support
A recently diagnosed workshop
Please contact Brigstowe on 0117 9555038 or see their website https://www.brigstowe.org/ for further information, advice and support.
Terence Higgins Trust (THT) work alongside the Brigstowe project, and support people living with HIV. Among other services this support includes:
- Health and well-being groups
- A women's group
- One to one support
- Support over the phone
- Online counselling
Individuals may access THT themselves or referrals can be made by other agencies (telephone 0117 9555038 or 0808 8021221)
Last updated 04/11/2020