National HIV Testing Week starts on Monday 1 February 2021. Every year this annual campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of regular testing, to help reduce the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV and those diagnosed late.
The number of people diagnosed with HIV is falling, but there is still work to do.
Did you know?
- 1 in 16 people with HIV are unaware they have it and spend an average of three to five years not knowing, increasing the risk of passing HIV on to sexual partners.
- Late diagnosis rates are still stubbornly high – 42% of people were diagnosed late in 2019. This correlates to poorer long-term health outcomes and leads to an eightfold increased risk of death. Clinical reviews show many could have been diagnosed sooner.
The campaign message is that testing for HIV is quick and easy – all it takes is a finger-prick test.
Testing is really important because:
- People can live with HIV for a long time without any symptoms, testing is the only way to know your HIV status.
- If you have HIV, finding out means you can start treatment, stay healthy and avoid passing the virus
onto anyone else.
- Testing for HIV is still possible despite COVID-19 restrictions. You can test at home using HIV postal and self-test kits. These are safe and confidential, and enable you to take a test at your own convenience.
Test, Treat, Protect…
It’s a good idea to test at least once a year. Test negative and end worries and doubt. Test positive and you can enjoy a long, healthy life – by testing early and starting treatment in time.
The sooner someone with HIV starts treatment, the better it is for their health. Treatment can also reduce the amount of HIV in the body to levels at which HIV cannot be passed on.
Most new infections come from unprotected sex with someone who doesn’t know they have HIV – so aren’t on medication and aren’t undetectable. So we all need to look after ourselves.
Find out more about how you can stop HIV here.
Sexual Health Services in Gloucestershire
Anyone diagnosed with HIV in the UK can access free treatment and support. In Gloucestershire our Sexual Health Service at Hope House, Gloucester, offers HIV testing and has a team of specialists to help people live well with HIV.
For further information about our HIV services, visit the Hope House website.