Two of the UK’s most respected charities have co-operated on a new information leaflet about the charges a small group of people now have to pay for HIV treatments.

The National AIDS Trust and the Terrence Higgins Trust have jointly produced the leaflet giving advice to people who are concerned that they may be charged for accessing NHS sexual health and HIV services.

The leaflet will be launched at the 13th Annual Conference of the British HIV Association (BHIVA), which is being held in Edinburgh from today.

Some recent migrants and people of uncertain immigration status, including failed asylum seekers and people who have overstayed their visa, are now charged for accessing HIV services in the UK.

Treatment and services for other STIs remains free of charge.

The leaflet provides answers to the common questions that people in this situation may have, including who is eligible for free treatment, what happens if you need to access treatment but are chargeable, and what to do if you are unable to pay.

Lisa Power, Head of Policy at the Terrence Higgins Trust, commented:

“Entitlement rules are widely misunderstood, and frequently misinterpreted.

“This briefing will help people with HIV and those working with them to understand the basics and where to get help with more complex issues.”

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust, said that charging people for accessing NHS HIV services causes those affected distress and confusion, particularly as the system is applied very differently across individual hospitals and primary care trusts.

“We hope that this resource, by explaining the facts, will demystify the process, reduce the uncertainty and help people to get access to the HIV treatment that they need,” she added.

The leaflet is available free of charge and can be ordered or downloaded from:

http://www.nat.org.uk or

http://www.tht.org.uk.