HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system. It weakens your ability to fight everyday infections and disease.
If you have a new diagnosis of HIV, initially you may need to be seen more frequently. Patients attending for routine care may only need to be seen every six months to a year. Blood tests should be arranged at least two weeks before your appointment with the doctor/specialist nurse so they can discuss these results with you. Routine appointments for bloods and follow up generally take 20-30 mins
Annual health checks
We offer all patients an annual health check. At the appointments we carry out physical and psychological assessments (such as blood pressure monitoring). Appointments generally take 30 mins to 1 hour
Sexual health screens
We offer STI testing at each appointment and can provide any necessary treatments, this is done as part of your routine appointments. Cervical smears & contraception are routinely discussed, and vaccinations (such as hepatitis A & B and HPV) are routinely offered.
Transferring HIV care to Lawson Unit
Transferring your HIV care to Brighton is easy. Simply inform your current HIV care centre that you are transferring care to Brighton and request ‘transfer-of-care’ documentation. Your current HIV care centre will know what this is. Alternatively – you can come to Lawson Unit and sign a transfer-of-care request and we’ll sort the rest out.
EmERGE is a novel digital pathway that reduces in-person consultations to one doctor/nurse appointment per year. The highly secure mobile phone app provides instant access to results, info about medications and appointment. Additionally, there is a two-way messaging system that enables you to communicate directly to the clinic via your app
Visit the EmERGE website for more information.
How do I get more medication?
If you don’t have enough medication until your next appointment, please contact the HIV Pharmacy Team on 01273 664 948. Please allow at least 24 hours for your prescription to be written. Once your prescription is ready please take it to Pharm@Sea (the outpatient pharmacy for the hospital) on 01273 523 257. For issues related to medicines home delivery please contact Alcura Health on 0800 980 0686 or 01604 433 500.
Does my GP need to know my HIV status?
We encourage all of our patients to register with a GP. With your permission we will reguarly communicate with your GP advising of any changes in your HIV care. Many patients have problems unrelated to HIV which GPs can manage safely.
Links to other services
We have excellent links with other departments including oncology, hepatitis clinics, rheumatology, dietetics, chest medicine and antenatal services. We have pathways in place that will help with any other treatments or appointments you may need from other specialties. We also work closely with organisations such as Terrence Higgins Trust, Mental Health Rapid Response Service, and the HIV Community Support Team.
Where we are
The Lawson Unit
The Lawson Unit is the name of our world-renowned specialist centre for HIV treatment, support & ongoing care for people living with HIV. We are one of the largest HIV centres in the UK and have an international reputation for clinical care and research.
HIV Outpatients at The Lawson Unit
Royal Sussex County Hospital
Monday to Friday (except Weds) 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Wednesday 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday Closed
The Orange Clinic
A new approach for the assessment and management of people who have cognitive issues or concerns.
The Orange clinic aims to provide a single point of care for expert, multidisciplinary assessment, management and advice.
The Sunflower Clinic is open for all women living with HIV, and provides access to a doctor, nurse, health adviser and a women’s support worker from the Sussex Beacon – all at one appointment.
This specialist team offers support, information and education around HIV treatment, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, fertility, cervical smears, menopause, bone and heart health, domestic violence, substance misuse, sexual assault, social issues and any concerns around mental health.
Alternate Fridays 10-1pm at The Lawson Unit.
Terrence Higgins Trust (THT)
THT is the UK’s largest HIV and sexual health charity. All THT Brighton based services are completely confidential and free of charge. They offer a wide range of support services for people living with or affected by HIV, including:
- welfare rights and advice
- coping with diagnosis and telling people you’re living with HIV
- accommodation issues
- signposting and referrals to specialist counselling and debt advice.
See the full range of support services for people living with HIV in Brighton and Hove.
For enquiries on any Brighton & Hove HIV support service visit the Terrence Higgins Trust website.
Lunch positive are a registered charity who provide a range of community based HIV services and groups, including welcoming, supportive and peer-led HIV community spaces in Brighton and East Sussex (Eastbourne, Seaford and Hastings). Lunch Positive works closely with the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust and the Lawson Unit, taking direct referrals to services and responding to signposted patients.
They have a team member dedicated to helping people engage with their services. The Lunch Positive Support Worker connects with referred and signposted patients, where needed, undertaking an initial meeting and assessment of needs, supporting the patient to establish connections with services and other service users, and providing ongoing support where required.
Their services include:
- HIV lunch clubs and food & friendship groups
- Women’s group
- Peer-support groups & HIV befriending scheme
- Social prescribing
- Advice & information sharing
- Food bank and food outreach, wellbeing programme, and volunteering for people living with HIV
- Every week they support over 120 people living with HIV in Sussex