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HIV, GPs & other primary care

Effective treatment means that, for many people, HIV is now a long-term, manageable medical condition.  Primary care services – those provided by general practitioners (GPs, or family doctors), dentists and other community-based medical services – can offer important services for people with HIV, providing long-term health care and support. This booklet explains the services they offer, how this care fits with HIV specialist care, and how to make the most of primary care services.

  • What is primary care?

    Primary care is a term used to refer to the services provided by general practitioners (GPs, or family doctors), practice and community nurses, dentists, opticians and community...

  • Eligibility to access GP services

    GP services are provided free of charge to everyone in need of care. Your immigration status should not affect your ability to register with a GP. For...

  • Finding and choosing a GP

    Friends, family, local HIV organisations, your HIV clinic or other people with HIV living locally might be good starting points for finding out about GP practices. There...

  • Making the most of your GP

    Newly registered patients may be invited to come in for a health check within six months. This is typically with the practice nurse or healthcare assistant, who will...

  • Disclosing your HIV status to a GP

    Knowing about any health condition you are living with will help your GP provide you with the right advice and treatment.  You do not have to...

  • GP confidentiality

    All healthcare professionals are obliged by law, and by professional regulatory standards set out by the General Medical Council, to ensure your medical information remains confidential. If...

  • GP services

    GPs provide services that focus on maintaining people’s overall, long-term health. This is an important consideration for people with HIV. HIV-positive people are at higher risk of...

  • Other long-term conditions and GP management

    Blood pressure is the force that the beating heart causes in the arteries, veins, and blood vessels that carry blood around the body. If you have high...

  • Pharmacies

    If your GP decides you need treatment with medication, you will be given a prescription. You should take this to your community pharmacy (a high-street chemist). In...

  • NHS costs and exemptions

    There are charges for some NHS services, such as prescriptions, sight tests and dental treatment. However, some people can receive these free of charge. This is often...

  • What to do if you’re unhappy with your GP practice

    If you feel unhappy about something to do with your GP practice, and would like to take some action, there are a number of ways to...

  • Dental care

    Dental care is an important part of everyone’s overall health. It is particularly important for people with HIV, especially pregnant women and people who use drugs or...

  • Opticians

    Most people do not experience any HIV-related problems affecting their sight and the use of HIV treatment will prevent the severe damage to the immune system that can...

  • Patient empowerment

    Since January 2003, all NHS bodies have had a legal duty to involve and consult the public about the running of local health services. There are a number...

  • Getting more information

    To find GPs, dentists, other health services and local health trusts or boards...

HIV, GPs & other primary care

Published October 2012

Last reviewed October 2012

Next review October 2014

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this booklet.


This booklet was written by Emma Standley and Selina Corkery, in collaboration with the British HIV Association (BHIVA).

We would especially like to thank the members of the BHIVA/RCGP Primary Care Working Group, our review panels and people living with HIV who contributed to this resource.

In addition, we are grateful to BHIVA, Wandsworth Oasis and the NHS London HIV Consortium for their support in funding this booklet.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.