Your Guide To...BHIVA Standards of Care for People Living with HIV

2. Person-centred care

‘Person-centred care’ is good-quality care that focuses on your needs as an individual. Your care should not only be about your healthcare needs, it should also be about everything that is important to you, including your family and social situation. You should be involved in making decisions about your care and not just receive healthcare services decided by your doctors. Healthcare professionals should talk with you about your life. You should feel able to talk about your health, your symptoms and your worries. You should feel able to ask questions about these things.

Healthcare professionals should help you manage all aspects of your quality of life. This could include, if needed, managing pain, emotional and mental health.

Standard 2 - Person-centred care

2b. Self-management and peer support

Living with HIV may mean adjustments to some parts of your life. This includes things like starting HIV treatment. It can also mean things like starting, or going back to, school, college or work; entering into relationships; pregnancy; and many more. Each of these issues may need different ways of dealing with them. We all manage many complex situations in our lives, by developing an understanding of the issues and deciding how best to deal with them. This is called self-management. This is the case for living with HIV as well. Self-management can help you achieve a better quality of life. The NHS should offer you guidance and support in developing your self-management skills for living with HIV. Peer-support organisations, where you can share experience with other people living with HIV, can also be very helpful. Both should help provide you with as much information, education and support about HIV treatment and care as you feel you need.

Your healthcare team can help you to understand your HIV treatment and care. They need to consider all aspects of your life that might affect your care. This might include immigration, housing or other social issues (such as addiction). Let your healthcare team know if there is anything you don’t understand in the information you are given.

Key messages

  • You should have access to a wide range of services, including help to develop self-management skills, if desired. Services should provide support and information about HIV, its treatment and healthy living with HIV.

  • You should be given access to information about your rights regarding HIV. This should include how to get financial, housing and employment support.

  • You should be informed about peer support in your area. Peer support should follow National Standards for Peer Support in HIV (