It’s a Sin

posted by: Jonathan Shaw

On the lead up to National HIV Testing Week 2021, starting 1st February, Channel 4’s #itsasin is on our screens. This new drama from Russell T Davies shows us the stark reality of life during the HIV/AIDs epidemic in the 1980s. Whilst important to reflect on those difficult times, especially as we find ourselves fighting another global infection outbreak, it is important for everyone to know how far we have come with our understanding of HIV since then:

  • People living with HIV who are on effective treatment live long and healthy lives. Recent evidence suggests patients diagnosed and treated early for HIV will have a normal life expectancy.
  • We also now understand that effective HIV treatment prevents the transmission of the virus to their sexual partner(s). #U=U (undetectable = untransmittable) means that the treatment a person living with HIV takes, suppresses the virus to undetectable levels, meaning it cannot be passed on to others.
  • HIV testing is quick and easy, via a number of organisations including our clinic or online during HIV testing week, with results available within days – click here to find out more.

Whilst it is important that we honour and remember those we have lost to HIV/AIDS, it is also really important that we inform and educate people on how far we have come since then. HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was.

It is important to know your HIV status if you haven’t recently tested.

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Accessing our service

In response to the emergence of COVID-19 we have implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

We are currently experiencing high demand for our Sexual Health Services across Devon and Torbay with unprecedented demand in Exeter. Please note always review urgent cases the same day. If your need is urgent and you are struggling to reach us keep trying as our phone system will explain how to access same-day care with us.

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception here.

Self-requested STI testing by post is available for those aged under 25- more info

We are now running an under 18’s sit and wait clinic at Exeter, Torquay, and Barnstaple for more information click here

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - from a local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info