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Sexually Transmitted Infections


There’s still no cure but treatment for HIV has improved greatly. If diagnosed early, many people can live a healthy life for many years.

The sooner treatment begins, the more effective it is in helping people stay well.

What is HIV and how is it caught?

HIV is a virus that attacks the body's immune system (i.e. the body's ability to fight off infections). 
It can be in the body for months or years without the person knowing. It may not cause problems for a long time but can still be passed on.
If left untreated, the HIV virus starts to destroy the body's immune system and the person with the disease becomes ill. At this point, the person is said to have AIDS. 
Most HIV infections are passed on during unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex or by sharing drug-injecting equipment. It can also be passed from a mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or through breastmilk.
It can't be passed on by kissing, shaking hands, hugs, sharing food, cutlery or toilets.

How can I avoid catching HIV?

If you're going to have sex, always use a condom (or a dam for oral sex with a woman) and have safer sex.
Never share needles used for injecting drugs or other substances.

How can I tell if I have HIV?

The only way to tell if you have the virus is by having a blood test.

HIV testing

HIV testing is done by taking a blood sample.
However, it can take up to twelve weeks after infection for the body to make enough antibodies to detect in some tests. The doctor or nurse you see for your HIV test will talk to you about the best time for you to be tested.
Results are usually available in about a week, but may be available quicker.
You can be tested at your GP surgery or at your local sexual health service.
If you’re a man who has sex with men, you can get a fingerprick HIV test from Waverley Care.

HIV treatment

HIV can be managed using a range of drugs that slow down the effects of the virus on the immune system.
Most people with HIV will be able to stay healthy and live normal lives, as long as they keep taking the drugs. 
Further blood tests are used to make sure the drugs are working and to change medicines if required.

Find out more about HIV symptoms, testing and treatment

Adults - find out more at Sexual Health Scotland.
Young People - find out more at Get The Lowdown.
If you or someone you know is affected by HIV or AIDS, you can get free, confidential advice and support from Waverley Care Services.
You can call, text or email the project worker.
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Telephone: 0141 332 2520 / 07760 701 308

What about PrEP?

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis: PrEP

In April 2017 the Scottish Government approved the provision of free PrEP to specific people at highest risk of HIV acquisition (catching it).  This should be available within all Scottish Sexual Health clinics in July.

PrEP has been called a "game changer" and, together with other preventative measures such as condom use, regular testing and universal HIV treatment, it could bring about the biggest ever reduction in new HIV infections.

The medication, called PrEP, is for specific groups who are at greatest risk of HIV and involves taking medication, which for most people will involve taking a pill every day.

PrEP isnt for everyone but if you are HIV negative and have certain risk factors you are likely to benefit from taking PrEP.  For example had:

  • A recent STI (especially a rectal infection or syphilis)
  • Use of PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)
  • Using some recreational drugs (crystal meth, mephedrone or G) - also know as ChemSex

HIV Scotland have prepared some excellent infmation for those who are considering using PrEP

Currently the sexual health clinics in A&B are not offering PrEP we there for suggest you make enquiries with either Highland Sexual Health services or the Sandyford Glasgow.

If you would like to discuss PrEP with Highland Health Services, please call our central booking line on 01463 888300 and ask for a discussion appointment.  As well as information about PrEP staff will also undertake blood, urine and swab testing at this visit.  This is to ensure that you meet the necessary criteria and that you have no underlying health conditions that would make PrEP unsuitable for you.  Once your test results are available we will arrange for you to meet with one of our experienced HIV team who will arrange for a supply of PrEP.

If you would like to attend the Sandyford clincic please check out the information on the website;

Other useful links: