National HIV Testing Week
In the run up to World AIDS Day on 1st December, National HIV Testing Week 2019 takes place from Saturday 16th November.
It’s a great opportunity to get tested and encourage others to test for HIV. Testing is free, fast, confidential and simple – you can even do it at home by ordering a free postal test.
Why test? The sooner you find out whether you have HIV, the better it is for your health. If you have HIV for a long time without knowing, it can damage your body and even shorten your life. Test negative and you end any worries or doubt.
Testing is good for all of us. Someone taking medication and with an undetectable viral load* cannot pass on HIV. But most people get HIV from someone who doesn’t realise they have it. If more people test and get the medication they need we could dramatically cut the numbers who get HIV in the future.
It’s a good idea to test at least once a year (or more often if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner).
*Viral load is how much HIV is in someone’s body, measured by a blood test. Treatment can push levels of HIV so low that tests show it’s at ‘undetectable’ levels.
Previous years have seen Prince Harry take a HIV test LIVE on Facebook - which led to a surge in HIV tests across the UK.
Getting tested for HIV There are various options for getting tested for HIV including testing at your local sexual health clinic, GP surgery or local HIV organisation. You can also test at home using either a postal test or a self test.
These days HIV positive people on successful medication are expected to live long, healthy lives, the same as their HIV negative counterparts, those that achieve Undetectable levels of the virus in their blood are uninfectious - and can't pass it on - hence the message "U = U" or Undetectable equals Untransmittable
There's still a way to go in terms of fighting HIV, and knowing your status is the first step!