New edition: Your next steps

The new edition of our booklet Your next steps is now available through our patient information scheme. Members can access it online here:

Your next steps is for people who’ve recently learnt that they have HIV. It also may be helpful for people who’ve known for a while but haven’t wanted to find out more until now.

People react in many different ways when they hear that they have HIV: some find it difficult to accept the news, others want to try and find out as much about HIV as they can, and some people carry on like nothing has happened. Your next steps answers some of the most common questions that people may have.


post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)

A month-long course of antiretroviral medicines taken after exposure or possible exposure to HIV, to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)

U=U stands for Undetectable = Untransmittable. It means that when a person living with HIV is on regular treatment that lowers the amount of virus in their body to undetectable levels, there is zero risk of passing on HIV to their partners. The low level of virus is described as an undetectable viral load. 

The booklet is split into five sections – first reactions, health issues, clinics and support, sex and life goes on – and includes information on:

  • Living with HIV and taking treatment, undetectable viral load, side effects, and looking after your health.
  • Registering with a doctor and clinic, check-ups, making the most of your GP, confidentiality, and getting support.
  • Sex when you have HIV, undetectable equals untransmittable (U=U), condoms and contraception, transmission facts, post-exposure prophylaxis, and HIV and the law.
  • Life expectancy, starting a family, telling people you have HIV, and work and travel.

Your next steps follows the new booklet design which we developed to fit in with the style of the new aidsmap website, but it’s still in the handy, pocket-size format of previous editions. We’ve also included lots of illustrations throughout the booklet.

Each section ends with a ‘Find out more’ page signposting to further information by NAM.

NAM’s Patient Information Subscription Scheme

UK-based HIV and GUM clinics can order copies of Your next steps, as well as our other booklets and leaflets in the series The basics, through our online portal as part of their patient information subscription.

To find out if your clinic is registered or for information on joining the scheme, please email

Due to COVID-19, there will be a delay in sending out orders but patients and healthcare professionals will still be able to access the booklet and other resources on the clinic portal.

Thank you!

We would like to thank the following people for their assistance: Ben Cromarty, North Yorkshire AIDS Action; Angelina Namiba, Associate, Salamander Trust; Alex Sparrowhawk; and Shema Tariq, Postdoctoral Clinical Research fellow (UCL) & Honorary Consultant HIV Physician (Mortimer Market Centre).