HIV Care

HIV Care

The Lawson Unit is a specialist centre offering treatment, support and ongoing care for men and women living with HIV and AIDS.

Will I always see the same doctor?

We work in teams which consist of senior doctors, junior doctors and nurses. Each time you visit you will be seen by someone from your team.

How often will I need to come to the clinic?

Initially you may need to be seen more frequently, and more stable patients may only need to be seen every 6 months. We want you to get the best from your appointment with the doctor. It is therefore important you have up to date blood tests. These should be arranged at least two weeks before your appointment with the doctor.

What is the CONNECT email service?

CONNECT is an email service which may be suitable for patients whose HIV is stable, either on or off treatment. This means in a 12 month period a patient would only need to attend 3 appointments: two blood appointments (including an annual health check) and one appointment with a doctor. Instead of a second doctor appointment your results will be emailled to you.

Nurse Appointments

Routine Bloods This is for blood tests only and should take no longer than 15 minutes. We offer an early morning blood service for this type of appointment. Priority Bloods Appointments are half an hour long and include specialist blood tests and nurse treatments. Patients transferring their care to the Lawson Unit You will be invited to an appointment with a nurse prior to a doctor review. Please allow a little extra time as it is important that we can spend some time with you discussing your previous care and current health. Annual Health Checks We also offer an annual health check where we will check your blood pressure and discuss lifestyle issues usch as smoking, diet, exercise and mental health. Sexual Health Screening All patients are offered annual screening for sexually transmitted infections and cervical smears for women. We offer self taken swabs for people without any symptoms of an STI. This can be done as part of your routine appointments and will be explained to you before you use them.

What is the HIV pharmacy?

HIV outpatient pharmacy services are provided from the Lawson Unit where the team of specialist pharmacists are available to offer support and advice about your medicines. The pharmacy team can be contacted by telephone on 01273 664948 during Lawson Unit opening hours. Once your prescription has been screened at the Lawson Unit please take it to Pharm@Sea, Lower Ground Floor, Outpatient Dept, Royal Sussex County Hospital. You can contact Pharm@Sea on 01273 523257 or email pharm.sea@bsuh.nhs.uk

How do I get more medication?

If you realise you are running low on medication and do not have enough until you see your doctor, please contact pharmacy as soon as possible and allow plenty of time for your prescription to be prepared. Pharmacy can be contacted on 01273 664 948. Home delivery It is now possible to have your medication delivered to your home (or other) address. Please discuss this with your doctor if this is something that interests you.

What do I do if I am unwell?

We offer a telephone triage system in the Lawson Unit during opening hours. Triage is a way of assessing a patient and directing them to the most appropriate treatment or centre. This means that if you feel unwell or are concerned you may have a HIV related issue, phone the clinic and one of our specialist clinic reception staff will take your details and arrange for one of the nurses to contact you, discuss your concerns and advise you of the most appropriate action. All out-of-hours queries should be directed to Courtyard 6&7 (HIV inpatient wards) on 01273 523061.

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.

Do you have links to other services?

We have excellent links with other departments including oncology, hepatitis, rheumatology, dietetics, respiratory and antenatal services. We have pathways in place that will help with any other treatments or appointments you may need from other specialities. We also work closely with organisations such as THT (Terrence Higgins Trust) and the Community HIV Specialist team.