Episode 16: HIV Myth Buster Special


Sex Talk- Episode 16 - HIV Myth Buster Special

Voice Over : You're listening to sex talk, a podcast all about sex.

In this episode expect to hear some colourful language and conversations of a sexual nature.

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Voice Over: Sex talk. Coming up on this episode of sex talk:

Adele: People who are having sex don't realise it could happen to them, you don't have to be gay, you don't have to be from Africa, you don't have to be black, it can happen to anybody, and the sooner we get this across hopefully people will start to lessen with the stigma and realise it's not something you get from promiscuous behaviour.

Matthew : I would say there's three things you've got to do if you get diagnosed, one get yourself informed, two obviously engage with your health care providers, they are going to give you the treatment which is going to save your life and that's fantastic. Three, moisturise. You're going to get old.

Voice Over: Sex talk. Starting a conversation about sex. -

Hilary : Welcome to Sex Talk, a podcast all about sex with me Hilary Ineomo-Marcus,

Adele : And me, Adele Roberts

Hilary : It's nice to be back in the studio with you Adele even though we're coming up to the penultimate show.

Adele : This is our last one.

Hilary: It is actually sorry, yeah it is the last one isn't it? It's just amazing how much I've learned.

Adele: It's been a great series you know.

Hilary: It has.

Adele: And we're starting to get around. My dad sent me a text recently and he went 'what's this?' and it was a poster of Sex Talk and I was like… nothing…

Hilary: That's one thing I haven't done so much, I haven't had that conversation with my mum yet, so it might be a bit strange.

Adele: I was like I think you know about sex dad I have a feeling you might have been there done that.

Hilary: So I didn't want to recommend it to you?

Adele: No I said to him listen, download it, subscribe, tell all your mates.

Hilary: Follow us on Twitter @SexTalkRadioUK and visit our website sextalk.radio

Adele: And make sure you subscribe to the podcast to hear the latest episodes as soon as they are released!

Hilary: In the last episode we heard about Chemsex, where we spoke to Pank, a man who had previously been involved with Chemsex about his own experiences, and we heard from London Friend, an LGBT+ charity about what Chemsex is, what problems people can experience from it, and how to ask for help. If you've not heard it already it's worth a download. So this episode is all about setting straight some myths, and we'll be getting educated about HIV, from prevention to diagnosis and HIV management and medication.

Adele: We've got two experts in HIV in the studio, our resident 'sexpert', HIV and Sexual Health specialist, Dr Stuart Flanagan, and a huge welcome to the studio to new voice to the podcast, the wonderful Matthew Hodson, Executive Director of one of the leading HIV charities, NAM. Welcome to Sex Talk Matthew and Dr Stuart!

Dr Stuart: Hey.

Matthew: Thank you.

Dr Stuart: Cheers guys good to be back and good to be with Matthew.

Hilary: Matthew it's your first time on sex talk…

Matthew: Be gentle with me.

Hilary: Can't promise! Tell us a bit about yourself and the work you do.

Matthew: As you said, I'm Matthew I work for NAM. We provide resources particularly for people living with HIV but also for the healthcare providers, for audiences internationally, we have a website called AIDSmap and we also do print resources, we host meetings and things like that.

Hilary: What is NAM and what does it stand for?

Matthew: Well it's one of the old fashioned things, it doesn't really stand for anything anymore. It used to stand for National AIDs Manual because when we were set up it was literally a ring binder folder of information which we would share with people, but now we're international and fortunately now we much more often talk about HIV rather than AIDs, and most of our work is online, so we're no longer a manual. But apart from that the name absolutely fits us! The main thing we do is we provide support for people living with HIV so that they feel empowered in the conversations that they may have with their healthcare providers. Also really key to the work that we do, and I think this is key to what I care about, is we want to challenge stigma and I think part of the way we do that is through information, because there's a lot of really good news out there at the moment. If we look at life expectancy for example, people with HIV, people like me, we have a normal life expectancy now, and there's this wonderful thing which we're starting to talk about which is that when we are treated, we are no longer an infection risk to our partners and that's really the core of a lot of people's fear of us that when they meet someone with HIV, 'oh am I going to become infected and do I have to disinfect everything and throw away all the plates' and it's like, well actually we can even have sex even without a condom and you'll still be okay. How amazing is that?!

Hilary: We've come a long way.

Adele: We're going to chat about that more on the show. Dr Stuart, for those who haven't heard Sex Talk before, can you just explain a little bit about what you do?

Dr Stuart: Yeah so I'm a specialist in sexual health and HIV medicine. I work in a large clinic in London and yeah I'm really excited to talk about HIV in particular because it's one of my passions – as Matthew said – talking about the new information that we have about HIV but the challenge ahead is still the stigma, and like Matthew says, getting lots of information and breaking down those barriers of ignorance is really what the challenges are ahead for us in the next few years.

Hilary: Prevention, testing and treatment for HIV has changed massively since the 80's, but unfortunately, there is still a large amount of stigma which exists surrounding the virus.

Adele: According to the 'People living with HIV stigma survey' in 2015', 19% of the HIV positive people in the UK surveyed had experienced being gossiped about, 20% said they had experienced sexual rejection, and 9% had been verbally abused because of their diagnosis.

Hilary: How awful is that?

Adele: Dealing with HIV anyway is probably something that people who have just been diagnosed with worry about, and then to lump this on top is definitely not okay and that's why these guys are here to sort it out, let's do it guys come on!

Hilary: It's Sex Talks ambition aim to try to help end the stigma around HIV and give our listeners the facts, which is why we have invited you both into the studio today!

Adele: Let's start trying to tackle this problem, hopefully we can reach a lot of people that will go and download this. So what misconceptions do you both hear over and over again in your work?

Matthew: I think it's got to be the one about the transmission of HIV. I think that is so core and I think for people like me living with the virus for all our lives as diagnosed positive people we've heard you're diseased you're unclean you're a threat and then this wonderful news that actually when we are treated, when we are virally suppressed with is the aim of HIV treatment that that is no longer the case. I think it's quite difficult sometimes for people living with HIV sometimes to make that adjustment because it gets so ingrained. You take it on board and it's that thing that you carry around with you and then to be told you can let that go, it doesn't matter anymore, you're not a threat and that's so beautiful and liberating and it shows the progress we can make because HIV isn't what it was in the 1980s or even the 1990s. It's a whole new narrative now.

Adele: And how poignant that sounded now the way you said you're not a threat. To head that people make you feel like that is so not okay. So those stats that we just read out, can you relate to those? I was quite shocked to hear that it was that little to be honest.

Matthew: To be honest I'm astonished it's that little because I don't think I know a single gay man certainly who hasn't experienced sexual rejection at least once and it's not just sexual rejection. Some of the things which friends of mine have had said to them on dating apps and things like that, it's literally you should die. Really cruel stuff. And you think where does this hatred come from? And it comes from fear and that's why we have to dispel that fear. That's why it's really urgent that we dispel that fear.

Adele: Like Dr Stuart was saying there's been great strides made, so Dr Stuart back to the misconceptions, can you relate to what Matthew just said?

Dr Stuart: Yeah, so, as you know I'm all about myth busting, and there are some that persist, not to the same level as they did a few years ago but people may think that things that are completely false still happen. But then there are other forms of stigma that have been coming through more recently that people are opening up, and we're thinking more about, and that's for example the way we discuss HIV as a society, and the way we think about HIV tests, how we offer HIV tests. As a health care professional I'm very passionate about reaching out to other healthcare professionals to encourage testing because I think sometimes people can get a little bit scared to talk about HIV because they think if they raise the topic then the person will think that there's certain assumptions being made about them. Everyone should know their HIV status and having a test is in no way going to affect their life insurance or getting a mortgage or in terms of your job employment. Those are the things I often find people ask me about and it should be something offered to anyone who wants one.

Adele: I totally agree because it seems to be at risk groups, people expect them to take them but like you just said if you're sexually active surely it's just good practice to get yourself regularly tested.

Dr Stuart: And I think we've talked before about STI screening and if you're starting a new relationship or if you're single and looking for someone or just looking to have fun then it's the responsible thing to do to know what your HIV and STI status is/ and I think that's part of good personal health but also good public health practice.

Hilary: I did a bit of investigating last week to find out how much the general public really know about HIV, and it was a bit of a mixed bag… I'll share my findings with you very soon, but we wondered if you'd both be up for a little game first?

Adele : It is the dictionary of sex… I'll show this to Matthew, Dr Stuart knows it well.

Dr Stuart: I'm very familiar with it.

Matthew: I'm not sure where this is going.

Hilary: You don't have to take off any clothes.

Adele: So this is a dictionary of words to do with sex, we would ask you to pick a letter, we're going to go in here, pick a word beginning with the letter that you give us, and you have the guess what the word means.

  • -- Voice Over: Sex talk. Word porn. –

Adele: Okay so letter please.

Matthew: I will go for the letter F.

Adele: Let's find you…

Matthew: I am so scared right now I can't tell you.

Adele: Flap shot.

Matthew: I'm going to hazard a guess – is this a term that comes from pornographic movie production?

Adele: Yes…

Matthew: And is it a term that refers to a particular close up in pornographic movie production of a woman?

Adele: Yes!

Matthew: Oh my god I'm so good at this game!

Adele: A flap shot, a slang term for a close up picture of the female genitals in a pornographic film or magazine. When's the last time you saw a flap shot?

Matthew: A long time ago! I'm sure there are equivalents which I may have seen a little bit more recently.

Hilary: Now the challenge is to use the word sometime this week at least once.

Matthew: I will use it tonight – before the day is out I will use this. I will slip it into conversation.

Hilary: Good luck.

  • -- Voice Over: Sex talk. Word Porn. -

Adele: Matthew, you have done some incredible work over the years, helping other people come to terms with their HIV diagnosis. You were diagnosed with HIV 20 years ago, how have attitudes changed since then?

Matthew: I think it's quite interesting. I'm not sure if attitudes have changed as much as they should have done really, because when I was diagnosed we had just had this huge conference where they said treatment works. Obviously that was a huge game changer. Suddenly HIV wasn't something that was necessarily going to kill you and I was diagnosed within months of that, and I have to admit that when I was diagnosed I wasn't sure if I really did believe that I was going to survive so I set myself this target, if I can just get to 50, half a century, that will be it. And I got to 50 and I thought hey this isn't so bad and I was really happy about it and it was a big thing, getting to this age and feeling healthy and feeling good and feeling like I've got decades left in me and that's fantastic. So in terms of the attitudes what I want to say is, why are we still stuck in the kinds of attitudes that we had 20 years ago when it has changed so much?

Adele: You're so right because you taking us back there to '98, I feel like some people will still be surprised at the news that treatment works in 2018 that is just ridiculous, and here you are, a glowing example, as if you're 50 I don't even believe you!

Matthew: Bless you I adore you!

Adele: No seriously, Hilary can you believe it?!

Hilary: I thought you were going to say you were 37 and not far away from 50.

Matthew: And I adore you too!

Adele: Alright so stigma. How does that still affect people with HIV?

Matthew: I think it affects us in lots of ways, and we've talked about sex already and sexual rejection and the internalised stigma, the way we hold it into ourselves. Now the treatment is so effective and the side effects are relatively minimal it's other people's attitudes which often cause the greatest problems for people living with HIV. I think this is something that people living with HIV can work on, but it's something that people who aren't living with HIV also need to work on and what we need to do is create that better environment, much more understanding of HIV, much more acceptance of HIV just as we can talk about diabetes and other long term conditions because that's where we're at now.

Adele: We have great tools at hand. So you were saying NAM used to be a manual now you're online, we have the internet. Dr Stuart can you give your expert opinion on this?

Dr Stuart: Personally I think it starts at a really young age when we need to educate young people about sexual health in general, about all of the changes that have happened in HIV medicine, HIV care. I think with each coming generation the stigma will hopefully start to erode but there's definitely quite a few barriers to get over yet in terms of how we get that education across, how we make everybody feel comfortable talking about sexual health.

Adele: I think part of it is the perception that it happens to somebody else, so we talk about these at risk groups and they seem to be in minorities so I think going back to education and young people I think people who are having sex don't realise it could happen to them, you don't have to be gay, you don't have to be from Africa, you don't have to be black, it can happen to anybody and the sooner we get this across hopefully people will start to lessen with the stigma and realise it's not something you get from promiscuous behaviour.

Matthew: I would say I think one of the reasons why there is so much stigma around HIV is because it does primarily affect those groups in society who are already marginalised. It's gay and bisexual men, it's migrants, it's people from sub Saharan Africa, it's injecting drug users, it's trans women and all of these groups, what unites them is that the Daily Mail doesn't like them.

Adele: So Hilary you've been speaking to people this week about HIV in the general public, can we have a little listen to what you got up to?

Hilary: It's quite interesting actually because lots of the things Dr Stuart has brought up is spot on in terms of people's perception of what HIV is.

Hilary: What do you think of when I say HIV?


Africa I'm gonna say. The adverts you see on TV.

Stuff Prince Harry's done recently.

HIV is effectively AIDs. A genuine disease that affects everybody.

It's a disease. A sexual transmitted disease.

HIV – sexually transmitted diseases, infections.

Something people live with every day and actually they live long lives.

African people in Africa, children sick, dying.

Adele: Wow.

Hilary: I think it's the first time speaking to people outside that I've ever heard that response but obviously it does exist and it's out of lack of education and sometimes ignorance that people don't know.

Adele: And there was only one guy who balanced it and said actually people can live a long life. There was one person out of all those people.

Matthew: What I found really interesting was the people who said, what is HIV and they instantly went AIDs and it's that association. Obviously they are associated conditions, but in the UK now we actually have really quite high levels of people living with HIV who've been diagnosed. Last time we looked it was 88%, last time it was reported on it was 88% and then 96% of those were on treatment and 97% of those are successful on treatment, their virus is suppressed and these people are not going to get AIDs so let's really break that link. This is why we stopped calling ourselves national AIDs manual because it's about HIV now and when I was reading something the other day about PrEP, and it's this life saving thing, it's like no, it's a disease preventing thing. Actually we're saving the lives already because treatment works.

Dr Stuart: One of the big language changes, for example I've found is that we now talk about people living with HIV and it's not people who've been diagnosed with, or people who are HIV positive, it's part of their health, it's part of their makeup but they're living long active lives and they have average life expectancy, the same as someone who doesn't have HIV and that's what the new treatments have done to change people's lives and expectations.

Adele: Just going back to the internet, one thing I've seen and one of the people mentioned Prince Harry, I love that he was so vocal and open about getting tested and then also recently, Olly from Years and Years he also did it very publicly and used the internet in a good way to spread the message look after yourself and check you're okay.

Hilary: Adele you're forgetting one extra famous person who's actually tested himself, of course the great Hilary.

Dr Stuart: I think I know who you're talking about Hilary.

Adele: Matthew's like I don't know what's going on sorry.

Hilary: On our very first episode, if you haven't listened to it, my goodness go back and listen to it, but in the very first episode of sex talk I actually got tested by Dr Stuart as well and it was so simple and easy and it was just a swab wasn't it?

Dr Stuart: Yeah that's right and you get the result there and then on the day as well so it's really straightforward.

Hilary: Let's run through each question and find out the real answers… The first one should be an easy one for you. What do the letters HIV stand for?


Something immune virus maybe?

Erm, that's a very good question. So the I is immune and I can't remember the rest.

I'm not 100% sure… human…. Something virus. Immune virus?

I don't know what it stands for?

I think it's virus and infection but I don't know the H.

That's evil. I know there's immune in there somewhere, virus is in there somewhere.

Human something virus?

Hilary: Right now we just heard what the public thought. Matthew I'm going to put this on you, what's the answer?

Matthew: The answer is human immuno-deficiency virus.

Hilary: I couldn't say the middle part.

Matthew: And neither could the members of the general public!

Hilary: I always remember the first but never the middle bit.

Adele: Ok this one's for Dr Stuart,who are the people most at risk of getting HIV? And what are the different ways you can contract HIV? Let's hear what the public think first.


Erm… blood. You can be born with it.

Sexually transmitted.

It's mainly through sex.

I think it's just through blood. Or maybe… if you're giving birth and you've got HIV already.

Sexually transmitted.

Sharing needles and stuff like that.

Sex I don't know any others? I don't know any others – kissing I don't know?

Unprotected sex – saliva as well?

No not saliva – mother to the child?

Unprotected sex with someone who not necessarily has it but is detectable, I think that's right? Obviously drug needle sharing again with someone like that.


Adele: Okay so the people most at risk and the different ways please Dr Stuart.

Dr Stuart: So I'll go through the different ways first of all so the transmission routes are through condom-less sex, especially vaginal and anal sex. Sharing injecting equipment. It is a blood born virus so it can be transmitted by sharing injecting equipment if you inject drugs and then there's also what we call vertical transmission which is transmission during pregnancy from mother to baby, and it can also happen during giving birth and also through breast feeding so those are the transmission routes and from those we then, like you were saying earlier, talk about at risk groups. So you could say anyone who has condom-less sex is at risk of HIV and that's very true, but some groups will be more at risk and that's just because the number of people living with HIV is higher in those groups. So that might be people from sub Saharan Africa, it may be men who have sex with men, it may be people who inject drugs. It depends on the country you're living in, the particular group you're talking about, but all of those are the transmission routes and the way it can be transmitted. So one of those I didn't mention is kissing and that's because you can't transmit HIV through kissing because saliva is a very poor medium for the virus to clear up that particular myth.

Adele: Yeah one more time you can't get it from kissing just so everybody's clear.

Matthew: And the other thing, similar to kissing, but also not from spitting. So when I similar to kissing, not for all people but in terms of an unjustified fear of HIV transmission, spitting is one of those things that keeps coming up. It's terrible if people get spat on during the course of their work and I'm not saying that's fine, I am saying that HIV fear shouldn't be part of the problem they're having to deal with.

Hilary: Next one, can somebody who has been diagnosed with HIV have unprotected sex with somebody who is HIV negative and not pass the virus on? Let's hear what the public had to say first.


Yes if they're taking medication.

I would suspect that it's not the case but I may be wrong around that.

I believe so but that probably isn't the best way to go about having sex but yes I think the answer is correct.

I don't think that's true I think you can pass it on.


They might. Because sometimes people that have HIV they have different levels of HIV, it depends.

If they're undetectable yes.

I don't think so?

Matthew: That's fantastic because so many people at least had some idea of the undetectable thing so it really shows that we're starting to make a difference considering we've only been talking about this really publicly just for the last year, the last 18 months and it's seeping through. People are unsure of it, but it's that thing when you stand up against a window in a high building you still get scared even though you know you're not going to fall because you're scared of heights and I think it's that thing. It's going to take a long time for us to really push through and say there's nothing to be scared of but people are starting to think about it, they're starting to understand. I think that's really exciting.

Hilary: Agreed. Let's knuckle into some key facts about HIV now. What is HIV medication called?

Dr Stuart: So the name for HIV medication is antiretroviral therapy or antiretroviral drugs, and the way they work is by attacking the virus itself in the body and the aim is to reduce the viral activity as close to 0 as we can get so when we say undetectable that means when we take a blood sample and we look for copies of the virus it's an extremely low level so there's only a tiny number of copies and far too few to make the virus infectious to others.

Hilary: Dr Stuart how often does somebody have to take medication to be undetectable?

Dr Stuart: So the recommendation is you should take your medication daily. For some people that may be one tablet, for most people it's once a day and there are some new treatments coming through that we might see in the next year or two where we can offer the treatment as an injection and you might just get your treatment every 3-6 months.

Adele: Dr Stuart, another question - can a woman who has been diagnosed with HIV give birth to children who are HIV negative? Let's see what the public thought.



Yes but there's a higher propensity for the child to be HIV positive as well.


I don't know that one, I'm not too sure.


Yeah of course. If she's followed by a doctor during the pregnancy.


I think they can.

Adele: The girls seem to be better at this one than the lads.

Dr Stuart: Funny that. So the answer is absolutely. So a woman living with HIV can absolutely deliver children who are HIV negative. The first thing is we have the know that the pregnant mum is living with HIV and that's often the first challenge, so now we offer HIV testing as part of the antenatal care bundle, so all pregnant mums are offered an HIV test. If the test is positive or if the mum is already known to be living with HIV and perhaps on treatment then their care is delivered by a specialist team which involves an obstetrician, an HIV specialist, a specialist midwife, and there's some extra appointments and some extra blood tests but otherwise it's like any other pregnancy, and then in terms of how the baby is delivered, for many mums that's going to be a vaginal delivery, especially if they have an undetectable viral load at the time close to delivery. If the virus is detectable then there might be a conversation about have a caesarean section which will reduce any particular risks to the baby during the birth, but for the vast majority of mums in the UK they will deliver a baby who's HIV negative through normal vaginal delivery and both mum and baby will be very healthy throughout the pregnancy and afterwards.

  • -- Voice Over: Sex talk. -

Adele: What are the ways you can prevent yourself from contracting HIV?


Safe sex.

In terms of sex it's having safe sex, protective sex etc. it's not sharing needles if you're a drug addict and such.

Condom. Stay away from blood.

Protect yourself.

Getting a jab, I don't know?

Avoiding needles and always have protected sex.

Safe sex and obviously if you're a drug user then using clean needles.

Have protected sex and don't use dirty needles.

Adele: Dr Stuart first.

Dr Stuart : So there's four main ways. One is using condoms during sex, one is regular testing for HIV, one is using PrEP which is pre exposure prophylaxis. And the other is that people living with HIV are on antiretroviral therapy and have an undetectable viral load, so those are the four main ways in which HIV transmission can be reduced.

Adele: Okay PrEP, Matthew.

Matthew: So PrEP is pre exposure so you start taking the treatment before any risk, any exposure risk. But PrEP is this very exciting thing because this is a method of prevention which actually, if it's taken every single day, if it's taken according to the directions, we can't say 100% but we would probably be saying medically it's 99 point something percent effective, and the power that gives people. The power that gives women who can't demand condom use from their partners for example, it's so brilliant and it works for women, and it works for trans women, and it works for gay men, and it works for heterosexual men, and it could just change everything but we need to invest in it, we need to make it available to people.

Adele: Yeah where would you go to get that?

Dr Stuart: That depends where you live in the country. So if you live in Scotland PrEP is available on the NHS so you can go to a sexual health service and they will talk to you about it. If you live in England there's one major large study called 'Impact' which is offering prep to 10,000 people in England. If you live in Wales or Northern Ireland there are recently some pilot studies coming through in both countries which are starting to offer PrEP now but I think in the next few years, I'm hoping, I think everyone wants PrEP to be widely available on the NHS, and hopefully it will be part of our treatment options for those that wish to use it.

Matthew : And if you can't get on the trial, and obviously I completely believe that this should be available on the NHS because it saves money, but if you can't get on the trial there are websites. There's a website called iwantprepnow and you can go there and order drugs which are manufactured overseas, they are genuine these drugs. They're not the branded drugs, they're generic drugs but they are genuine, they will work, and that will cost you about £45 for a month's supply.

Hilary: So Matthew what's that website is it .com or .co.uk?

Matthew: It's iwantprepnow.co.uk

Hilary: The next question we asked is what options do you have if you think you have put yourself at risk of contracting HIV?


Get blood tested.

Get to your local STD clinic or go see your GP.

Go see a GP.

Go to the GP.

Go to the doctors.

Go to the doctors as soon as possible.

Sometimes you can avoid having the highest level of HIV so the sooner you start treatment the better you'll be.

There's drugs these days that help to prolong life and counteract the side effects of HIV.

See a doctor.

Hilary: So Dr Stuart.

Dr Stuart: So if you're concerned about possible exposure to HIV then first thing is to talk about getting tested. So that might be your local sexual health clinic, some GP services offer it as well. You might want to talk about Pep which is the treatment that you can use within 72 hours of being exposed to HIV. It reduces the risk of transmission.

Matthew: It's wrong to say the morning after pill, because that suggests it's something you just take once because actually it's a month long course of treatment and you do have to start it as quickly as possible and certainly within 72 hours, but much more recommended within the first 24 hours, and if it's after 72 hours you probably won't be able to get it.

Dr Stuart: And then you need to do an HIV test one month after the end of the treatment just to check what the outcome is, but for the vast majority of people, and I've prescribed Pep a lot over the last number of years, the vast majority of people will test HIV negative after that.

Hilary: Can you test that at home?

Dr Stuart: You can do a home test, so the best way to get a kit is to go to your local sexual health service and they'll give you the kit to use at home when the time is right.

Matthew: Or you can order it online from THT.

Hilary: Especially if they're testing at home, and then for people that eventually find themselves to be HIV positive what do they do?

Dr Stuart: So the thing I would say as a health care professional who looks after people living with HIV, I think it's better to know what your status is. So if you status is HIV positive then it's important to know that because the next step is we can think about how we look after your health, what support you need. Also, as Matthew was saying before, the antiretroviral therapy now is easy to take, it's very simple, it works and it means that you can have a happy healthy life for decades from now. It's important to engage in the services and the most important people probably in all that group are the peer support networks, so other people living with HIV who can say what it's like to go through that experience of being diagnosed and meeting your health care professionals for the first time.

Matthew: I would say there's three things you've got to do. If you get diagnosed, one, get yourself informed, and I maybe a bit impartial here but go to aidsmap.com because you'll have all the latest news and treatment news there, two, obviously engage with your health care providers. They are going to give you the treatment which is going to save your life and that's fantastic. Three, moisturise. You're going to get old.

Adele: Matthew, Stuart, thank you so much for both of you for pushing things forward and teaching me more things yet again, thank you.

Dr Stuart: Thank you it's good to be here and it's good to have such good news as well.

  • -- Voice Over: Sex talk, with your hosts Adele and Hilary.

Adele: If you need further advice or support on any of the issues raised in this episode of Sex Talk contact your GP. They should provide out of hours contact details for emergency calls.

Hilary: Alternatively you can go online - www.nhs.co.uk - to find your nearest STI testing and treatment service.

Adele: NAM's website is an amazing resource if you have any questions relating to HIV, visit aidsmap.com

Hilary: You can order a self-testing HIV test from hivselftest.co.uk and you can see if you're eligible for a free testing kit from the Terrence Higgins Trust by going to test.tht.org.uk/

Adele: And if you're concerned about HIV - Positively UK - can offer advice. Their national helpline is open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm on 020 7713 0444 and you can visit their website positivelyuk.orgDon't forget to subscribe to our podcast to keep up to date with the latest episodes, and to follow us on Twitter, we're @sextalkradiouk

Hilary: You can join in the conversation using #SexTalkPod

  • -- Voice Over: Sex talk. Real stories, real issues. -

Adele: Unfortunately that's all we've got time for on this episode of sex talk and it's the end of this current series. Hilary I've loved every moment thank you so much.

Hilary: Adele I can't stop crying, I've been dreading this day.

Adele: You're crying with happiness that you get to be rid of me for a bit?

Hilary: On the contrary no, it's what am I going to do with my life? I feel that life's not going to be the same again. I've been to Pride and yeah I've learned so much, so thank you so much for being such a fantastic and wonderful presenter.

Adele: And you too. Really enjoyed this. Thank you so much to everybody who's joined us on this series. We're going to miss you but we'll be back in September with series 3!

Hilary: And we promise you it's going to be an amazing series so make sure you stay locked in for that but until next time stay safe.

Adele: And keep talking.

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