UK guidelines for HIV treatment and care

Selina Corkery
Published: 12 August 2013

Update: New BHIVA guidelines were published in 2015, and these summaries have been removed from our website as a result. You can find the latest guidelines on the BHIVA website:

NAM has worked with the British HIV Association (BHIVA) to produce eight easy-to-read summaries of the most recent BHIVA guidelines, covering HIV treatment for adults, and HIV treatment for women during pregnancy.

You can read them online or download them as PDFs.

High standards of care

Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, the outlook for people living with HIV has improved in leaps and bounds. People diagnosed in good time, who receive the right treatment and care, can now expect to live a normal life expectancy. The introduction of effective combination treatment in the mid-1990s brought about immediate falls in rates of HIV-related illness and death. Since then, there have been continued, major improvements in HIV treatments available. 

In the UK, this hugely improved prognosis is in large part due to the high standards of HIV treatment and care delivered in HIV clinics across the country. As the leading UK professional association representing professionals in HIV care, BHIVA has played the key role in setting and monitoring standards for many years.

BHIVA develops and promotes national guidelines that set out best clinical practice for treating and managing HIV in adults. The guidelines are aimed primarily at healthcare workers directly involved with the care of people with HIV – chiefly doctors and nurses, but they are also used by pharmacists, dietitians, social workers and other specialists. In addition, the guidelines are important tools for community advocates promoting the best interests and care of people living with HIV.

Summaries for patients 

In producing the guidelines, BHIVA aims to ensure that people with HIV receive the best possible care wherever they are in the UK. BHIVA was aware that many people living with HIV take an active interest in the care they receive and would like to know more about what the guidelines demand of clinicians and other staff.

So NAM was delighted to be commissioned by BHIVA to produce easy-to-read summaries of the two most recently produced sets of BHIVA guidelines, covering HIV treatment for adults, and HIV treatment for women during pregnancy. 

The summaries include:

  • Starting treatment
  • Starting treatment when you have another health condition
  • Changing treatment
  • HIV treatment for pregnant women
  • Antenatal and postnatal care 

We hope you will find the summaries an effective way to see, quickly and easily, key recommendations and good practice suggestions, whether you are starting HIV treatment for the first time, changing treatment, or having to consider HIV treatment alongside another health condition, such as hepatitis, cancer or kidney disease. The summaries of the treatment-in-pregnancy guidelines, as well as covering HIV treatment, set out standards for antenatal and postnatal care and recommendations around childbirth and feeding your baby.

You can also find out more about the way BHIVA produces its guidelines, which ensure that the guidelines are based on the best-available scientific and medical knowledge, as well as on good practice gathered from around the country. The processes BHIVA uses have been accredited by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), recognition of their quality. An important part of the process is the involvement of people living with HIV – you can find out more about taking part yourself on the UKCAB website

We’re very grateful to BHIVA for funding these new resources, and to the clinicians and people living with HIV who reviewed them for us. We hope you find them interesting and useful.