Our core HIV support services are delivered through Renaissance who provide:

  • HIV specialist advice, support, and information to all residents of Blackburn with Darwen living with HIV or affected by HIV.
  • The service aims to enable each person to manage their diagnosis and to reach their goals.
  • Our Sexual Health Practitioners work closely with the Sexual Health Nursing Teams across Lancashire offering a seamless package of care to anybody living with or affected by HIV.
  • They offer dedicated one to one support, counselling (person centred, CBT, Solution Focused), Befriending, Complementary Therapies, group and peer support
  • The service also provides Public Sex Environment (PSE) outreach across Lancashire to men who have sex with men and will distribute contraception in these locations.

This service is for you if:

  • You have been recently diagnosed or have been living with HIV for a long time.
  • If have questions or you just need somebody to talk to, we are here to help.
  • It is a free and confidential service.
  • Please contact us and ask to speak to one of the Sexual Health Practitioners

For further information call: 01253 311431


  • HIV is a virus which weakens the human immune system.
  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus.  If left undiagnosed and untreated HIV can cause damage to the immune system which can leave people vulnerable to other infections.

How is HIV passed on?

  • HIV is primarily transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse and is present in sexual fluids (pre ejaculatory fluids, semen, vaginal fluids, anal mucus) which is why it can be passed on during sex. 
  • HIV can also be transmitted by the sharing of needles, or from an infected mother* to her child during childbirth or breastfeeding.
  • Early detection and access to medication is crucial in managing HIV.

* Mother-to-baby transmission in pregnancy is extremely uncommon in the UK. Less than 1% of babies born to women living with HIV in the UK are born with HIV themselves.

Important to know

  • When a person living with HIV sticks to their medication and maintains an undetectable viral load, the virus is untransmissible (U=U) and cannot be passed on through sexual contact.
  • HIV be can prevented by medication called PrEP: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a daily pill you can take before sex that offers near complete protection from HIV.
  • It is important to remember that PrEP will not protect you from acquiring other STIs. This is an important advantage of using condoms.

For more information and to access PReP go to : https://www.sexualhealthblackburn.co.uk/more/prep-pep/

What is PEP and should I consider taking it after unprotected sex?

  • If you think you may have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours (three days), it is possible to take medication called PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) which may stop you becoming infected with HIV.
  • PEP is most effective if taken within the first 24 hours after potential exposure.
  • PEP is a 28-day treatment of powerful drugs and is recommended after high-risk of exposure (for example, if a partner is known to be HIV positive).
  • PEP may be given after condomless sex with someone who has HIV (and is not on effective treatment) or thought possibly to have HIV. Condomless sex means sex without a condom, or sex with a condom which breaks or comes off during sex.
  • PEP is not a ‘morning after pill’ for HIV, and it’s not guaranteed to work. It’s recommended as an emergency measure to be used as a last resort, such as after condomless sex. 
  • Doctors will assess your risk of HIV infection before prescribing PEP which involves taking a 28-day course of anti-HIV drugs, after possible exposure to HIV.

Important to note.

  • Taking PEP will not protect you from pregnancy or other STIs.
  • The sooner you start, the more reliable it can be — every hour matters.

Where can I get PEP?

  • You can get PEP from Brook Blackburn and from the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital Accident and Emergency Department
  • Brook: Please ring 01254 268 700 for appointments. Brook phone lines are open from 10:00-16:00 Monday-Friday.
  • Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital (A&E) Haslingden Road, Blackburn, BB2 3HH. Tel: 01254 263555

If you want support about yours or your partner’s HIV status, access www.ren-uk.com 

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