World Aids Day – 1 December 2021

This World Aids Day we are reflecting on the important role we can play in helping patients with HIV to live well. The UCO has worked with patients with HIV for a number of years and we are pleased to announce that we will be resuming our community clinic for patients diagnosed with HIV at the Royal Free Hospital in the New Year. We are proud to be able to continue to support patients in this way and to celebrate World Aids Day. 

About clinics for patients with HIV at the UCO

The first clinic at the UCO for people with HIV was set up in 2001 by Paul Blanchard, who began working at the UCO (then the BSO) in 1988. At the time, the clinic was called the Chapman clinic, and has since been renamed the Blanchard Clinic in his memory. 

In more recent years the UCO Clinic has also provided osteopathic treatment for patients diagnosed with HIV via the Ian Charleson Day Centre (ICDC) at the Royal Free Hospital, with patients being referred by consultants at the ICDC.

At the start of the pandemic it became necessary to suspend both the Blanchard Clinic and the community clinic at the Royal Free Hospital, although patients with HIV have been able to continue to access our services via the UCO’s general clinic. We are however very pleased to announce that our clinic at the Royal Free Hospital will be resuming in early 2022 – watch this space for more information!

Historically, the UCO has sought funding so that all our clinics for patients with HIV can be offered free of charge, but in recent times, securing funding has become increasingly difficult. We are however proud to be able to to deliver appointments via the ICDC at the Royal Free completely free-of-charge, and to fully fund the first six appointments at the UCO Clinic for patients with HIV. If patients accessing services via the UCO Clinic need further treatment after this, then they would be asked to pay the rate that is appropriate for them (this ranges from £15 to £32). 

“I have attended the Blanchard Clinic at the University College of Osteopathy for nearly twenty years and indeed it was the late Paul Blanchard who first identified the pain in my hip was a condition known as Avascular Necrosis caused by HIV… Unfortunately the Avascular Necrosis, in rare occasions also can affect other joints and had affected my shoulders. However with the care, support and ongoing therapy from the University College of Osteopathy I have been able to obviate the need to have shoulder replacements and retain a range of movement which has allowed me to continue to lead a normal life and still swim, ride my bike and go to the gym on a regular basis. Thank you everyone at the UCO”.  – Blanchard Clinic patient

About Paul Blanchard 

Paul was a highly regarded clinician and lecturer and in 1996, he was a founding member of the AIDS Treatment Project, a grassroots treatment advocacy group in the UK. From 2000 to 2007 Paul was editor of HIV Treatment Bulletin produced by HIV i-Base – a group committed to providing up to date information about treatment to HIV positive people and health care professionals. Paul had a keen interest in the musculoskeletal effects of HIV infection and the osteopathic care of people with HIV. His research and publications about living with HIV infection and osteopathic treatment have helped the entire profession to develop. Paul had long been a supporter of the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine (IJOM) and helped many new authors to achieve their first publication. He served as Research Treatment Bulletin Editor for six years from 2011, until his death in May 2016. 

We continue to be thankful for all that Paul did and the steps he took to develop the profession in this area.

Osteopathy and patients with HIV 

Patients with HIV attend the UCO clinic for a range of musculoskeletal problems and are seen by senior students, who are supervised by qualified osteopaths. 

Musculoskeletal problems in patients with HIV are common and these can range from mild aches and pains to more specific neurological conditions and different types of arthritis, as examples. 

The vast majority of patients with HIV who present with musculoskeletal symptoms are able to be treated with hands on therapy, alongside advice on exercise, rest and other related areas. We undertake thorough case histories and examinations to ensure we are making appropriate clinical decisions and refer patients to their GP or other healthcare professionals if appropriate. 

Working with patients with HIV enables our students to work with a complex and diverse patient group. This supports their development as healthcare practitioners and their adaptability in meeting the needs of patients.  

“Working with and treating patients at the Ian Charleson Day Centre at the Royal Free hospital (a leading HIV clinic in North London) was one of the highlights of my osteopathic training. I am looking forward to returning there in the near future, as a Practice Educator alongside a new cohort of students. Ensuring that people living with HIV have accessible mainstream services, including osteopathic treatment within a supportive and safe space, corresponds with the values that we as an institution have.” – Jeremy Jones-Bateman, Practice Educator, UCO 

If you are interested in finding out more about how we work with patients with HIV or would like to request an appointment contact 020 7089 5360 or email