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Covid vaccine: HIV clinics to make confidential referrals

PUBLISHED

People living with HIV in England and Wales can now choose to have their Covid vaccine through specialist clinics, without notifying their GP.

NHS England has updated its guidance for people not comfortable with sharing their status. 

Everyone with HIV should be in vaccine priority groups four or six, and offered a jab by mid-April at the latest. But campaigners worried stigma would cause some to miss out.

The updated guidance, obtained by the i newspaper, follows the lead of NHS Wales which put the same measures in place last week.

Head of leading HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, Ian Green, said: "Some may be surprised to hear that a significant number of people living with HIV feel unable to talk to their GP about their HIV status, but this underlines how much stigma still surrounds the virus even in 2021."

"This is great news and the right decision from the NHS as it means people living with HIV will be able to take up the potentially life-saving Covid-19 vaccine at their earliest opportunity. We are working towards a society where everyone living with HIV feels comfortable sharing their status with their doctor and other health professionals, but we're not there yet and we welcome this fast, pragmatic action."

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Source: BBC News, 22 February 2021

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