Asylum Seekers & Refugees
If you are an asylum seeker or refugee and also living with HIV, there can be many challenges and concerns that you may need support with – this could be directly related to your HIV status or about general healthcare, finance, housing or your immigration status.
Whatever your status, you have the right to be safe while living in the UK. And that means the right to be safe in your home, when you go out, within your community, at places you visit and where you work.
If you are an asylum seeker who has not been granted refugee status, you will not be allowed to claim benefits in the same way as UK citizens but you may be entitled to housing and support.
The asylum process and associated support systems are quite complex and it is, therefore, really important to get the right advice and guidance form a reputable advice service.
The Refugee Council offer a free confidential telephone advice service (which is free to call even from mobiles without credit). They can be contacted on 0808 808 2255 and will be able to discuss any problems they may have as an asylum seeker or refugee including the asylum process, support and entitlements.
This may include:
- Any support available through NASS
(National Asylum Support Service)
- Welfare rights and benefits
- Immigration queries e.g. travel documents,
citizenship and nationality
- Information about choices-assisted voluntary returns
For full details about the Refugee Council, click here to visit their website.
There are rules about asylum seekers and refugees on who can obtain NHS treatment. These rules are quite complex but an important message is that you cannot be refused essential treatment for HIV. Also, HIV testing is available free of charge to anybody regardless of the immigration status.
The specialist HIV staff at the Hallamashire Hospital will be able to talk through the treatments and support available in Sheffield for people who are HIV positive.
For general healthcare issues, the Mulberry Practice offers primary care services to asylum seekers residing in Sheffield. The Mulberry Practice consists of health practitioners who have specialist experience in caring for asylum seekers. Patients are registered with the practice and receive primary health care until their asylum case is resolved.
Local Support and Advice Services
If you are an asylum seeker or refugee who is living with or affected by HIV, the staff at The Forge Centre can provide advice and support on a range of associated issues.
Other useful local asylum seeker/ refugee services are:
(Asylum Seeker Support Initiative Short Term)
C/o Victoria Hall Methodist Church
Tel: 0114 275 4960
Northern Refugee Centre (NRC)
Tel: 0114 241 2780
The Northern Refugee Centre also provides drop-in advice services and an advice line Tel: 0114 272 9332
The NRC Sheffield advice service leaflet with times and map can be downloaded from here.
Other Useful Resources
National AIDS Trust (NAT)
Report about the UK pathway for asylum seekers living with HIV.
Click here to download.
UK Border Agency
Asylum Support Information – Click here to view the website.
On-line Resources and Information – Click here to view the website.
Citizen’s Advice Bureau
Guide on NHS charges for people who are not UK citizens -
Click here to view the website.