HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) affects the immune system. A number of community groups offer a rapid finger prick HIV test, were you get your results in 20 minutes. HIV is a treatable infection, although not curable at present.

Anyone in Leeds can now order a free HIV and Syphilis testing kit to be delivered to your home. Click here to order your kit today!

Easy to read information on HIV

Mencap and National AIDS Trust have developed an easy to read and understand leaflet on HIV.

5 Facts Leaflet

What is it?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) affects the immune system. It is the virus that can lead to AIDS if it is left untreated.

How do I catch it?

The HIV virus is passed from person to person during condomless sex. This includes anal, vaginal and on rare occasions, oral sex.

The virus can also be transmitted by sharing injecting equipment for drug use. Sometimes a mother can pass HIV on to her baby during childbirth and/or breast feeding.

What symptoms could I have?

If you have been infected with HIV you might not actually show symptoms or signs of the infection. You might experience flu-like symptoms when you are first infected. This is called the seroconversion illness, or primary HIV infection. Symptoms of the seroconversion illness to look out for include headaches, high temperature/fever, skin rash, muscle aches and pains, diarrhoea, sore throat and fatigue.

After the first stage of HIV has passed, you may not experience any symptoms for several years. The HIV may go undetected and it will multiply. During this time it can be passed on to other people. This means that it is important to get tested for HIV after condomless sex, as you could have the virus and be passing it on to other people without your knowledge.

Your immune system will be affected by HIV, leading to life-threatening infections and/or cancers unless the virus is diagnosed and treated with antiviral tablets.

How do you test for it?

A number of community groups offer a rapid finger prick HIV test, where you can get your results in 20 minutes. See below for where to test for it.

HIV tests are offered in Sexual Health Clinics and GPs. They usually offer a blood test which is then sent to the laboratory which means you may have to wait sometime for your results.

How do you treat it?

If your test is positive, you will be referred to the HIV specialist clinic.

Even though HIV is not curable at present, it is a treatable infection. If you are diagnosed early before your immunity is damaged, you should be able to lead a healthy life because treatments for HIV are very good. If you are living with HIV, the earlier you get tested and are diagnosed, the better the physical outcome.

*HIV patient receiving treatment and care need to ring 0113 3926762 for all enquiries.

A new way to prevent HIV - PEP

PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) is a medical treatment that should prevent HIV infection after possible HIV exposure. This treatment should be taken within 72 hours of possible HIV infection. PEP can only offer some protection and it can’t be guaranteed that it will stop you from getting HIV.

When would I need PEP?

If you think you been exposed to HIV by having condomless sex (vaginal or anal) or sharing injecting equipment, then you should speak to your Doctor, nurse or sexual health worker in order to get more information.

PEP should be taken within 72 hours of possible HIV exposure; the sooner you start the more effective it is.

Where can I get PEP from?

You can use the service finder to find HIV PEP treatment near you.

You can get a PEP treatment from a sexual health clinic or Accident & Emergency department. You do not need an appointment for this; they will try to see you as soon as possible.

If it is the evening or weekend or you can’t go to your nearest sexual health clinic, please go to your nearest Emergency department, but be aware that not all of these departments are aware of PEP.

PEP is not available from your GP or at any pharmacies.

For more information about this kind of treatment or side effects, please contact your doctor, nurse or sexual health worker.

Also check ways to prevent HIV and remember to have regular sexual health checks as not all sexually transmitted infections have symptoms but they can increase HIV transmission.

Useful contact details:

Sexual Health Line: 0113 843 4495

Merrion Centre Clinic

50 Merrion Way,

1st floor Merrion Centre
Leeds, West Yorkshire

Plus Health Advisers contact: 0113 3926058

Or Yorkshire MESMAC’s Head Office: 0113 244 4209

MESMAC's address:

22-23 Blayds Yard

For out of hours services please contact the Emergency Department:

Great George Street,
West Yorkshire,

0113 2432799

For more information on what to do if you need PEP, please click here. A new way to prevent HIV - PEP

What about PrEP?

PrEP (which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a course of anti-HIV drugs that you can take before sex to reduce your risk of becoming infected with HIV. Currently it is taken as tablets, but injectable PrEP may be available in the future.

PrEP is available from our sexual health service – book an appointment or attend one of our walk-in clinics to start. Once you’re on PrEP, follow up will be arranged to reduce the risk of you running out. PrEP is useful if you have condomless sex with gay or bisexual men, trans/non-binary individuals & people born in countries with a higher rate of HIV (such as Africa & South America for example). It can also be used if your partner is living with HIV and they’re not yet undetectable. This is different to post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which is taken after a potential exposure to HIV.

PrEP is now available through the NHS and can be accessed through Leeds Sexual Health. To have a discussion about PrEP, please call Leeds Sexual Health on 0113 843 4495.

To find out more about PrEP, you can look at these useful websites:

Where to test for HIV?

Anyone in Leeds can now order a free HIV and Syphilis testing kit to be delivered to your home. Click here to order your kit today!

All our clinics test for HIV.

Your GP can also offer you a HIV test. They will give you a blood test which is then sent to the laboratory which means you may have to wait sometime for your results.

You may also wish to visit our partners, who offer HIV testing for specific communities:

Yorkshire MESMAC (focuses on the LGBTQ+ community)

BHA Skyline (aimed at black African communities)

Alternatively we have our self-test kit delivered to your door (this is aimed at men who have sex with men and black African communities).

Leeds HIV Outpatient Service

Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust provide HIV treatment and care for people living with HIV and choosing to access care in Leeds, Dewsbury and Wakefield. Clinics are held in Leeds at the LGI, in Wakefield at Spectrum Sexual Health service and in Dewsbury at Locala Sexual Health service.

Please see their website for more information:

You can use the service finder to find a HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment near you.