People in greatest need
In this page:
HIV cannot be passed on through kissing, touching, spitting, coughing or sneezing.
Asylum seekers, other people who do not have full UK residency status and prisoners are amongst the groups most seriously affected by HIV in the UK. There is also a strong link between HIV and poverty.
We are working to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people living with HIV in the UK and to ensure that they get the treatment, care and support that they need. We also want to make sure that people in greatest need have the information and means to protect themselves from infection.
Between 2006 and 2009, one in six people accessing HIV treatment in the UK was living in such extreme poverty that they had to seek emergency cash support from charity. We are working to bring about change and to tackle the root causes of poverty among people living with HIV, including cuts to welfare support, unemployment and poor housing among people living with HIV.
Rates of HIV and Hepatitis C are much higher among prisoners than they are among the general population.
A survey of UK prisons by NAT and the Prison Reform Trust in 2005 revealed that prisoners frequently receive inadequate healthcare and access to prevention programmes in relation to HIV and Hepatitis C. In response we have produced a best practice framework on responding to HIV and other blood-borne viruses in prison.
We are also campaigning to increase access to harm reduction measures in prisons, such as condoms and needle exchange.
Asylum and migration
Some government policies in relation to asylum seekers and migrants to the UK harm the health and breach the human rights of people living with HIV.
The NHS charging rules mean that some migrants living with HIV are denied access to free treatment, including treatment for HIV. We are continuing to campaign for everyone living with HIV to have access to life-saving treatment.
We are also working to ensure that asylum seekers have their needs understood and met at every stage of the UK asylum system.
People who inject drugs
People who inject drugs are at risk of HIV if they share needles or other equipment, but the provision of needle exchange and other harm reduction measures means the UK has a comparatively low prevalence of HIV among current and former injecting drug users. However, more can be done to improve the services available to people who inject drugs.