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NHS England makes Covid vaccine easier to access for people living with HIV

"Local HIV clinics will now be able to arrange a vaccine through an alternative route, such as a local hospital hub.”

2021-02-23

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Pexels

People living with HIV in England can now receive their Covid vaccine through HIV clinics without notifying their GP, it has been confirmed.

The NHS England rule change follows a similar move in Wales announced earlier this month.

There were concerns over how individuals with HIV would be contacted about the vaccine if they hadn’t disclosed their diagnosis to their GP, leading to a campaign by HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust.

"Alternative route"

Dr Michael Brady, NHS England National Advisor for LGBT Health and consultant in HIV and Sexual Health told i: "I encourage everyone living with HIV to register with a GP and make them aware of their HIV diagnosis so they get the best possible health care and access to the life-saving Covid vaccine. 

“For those not comfortable doing this, local HIV clinics will now be able to arrange a vaccine through an alternative route, such as a local hospital hub.”

According to THT, “everyone with HIV is automatically in priority group 6 as long as their GP is aware of their HIV status. If your clinic thinks you are at higher risk you can be put into priority group 4, and get the vaccine sooner, but you will need to be added to a central NHS list to be put into priority group 4.”

In a tweet last week, the Welsh government confirmed: “If you live with HIV and you haven’t disclosed your diagnosis to your GP, you may be concerned about how you’ll be contacted about your coronavirus vaccine.

"In Wales, we’ve made changes so that your HIV clinic can now make the arrangements for you to be contacted.”

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