Five reasons why you should test for HIV

It’s National HIV Testing Week from 16 to 22 November, a great opportunity for you to get tested and encourage others to do the same.

Here are five reasons why you should get tested.

1. Be sure of your status.

Testing is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV or not. People sometimes live for years unaware that they have it.

If you’ve never tested, or it’s been more than a year since your last test, it’s a good idea to test now. It’s advised to test once a year – or more often if you’ve had unprotected sex with more than one partner.

If you’re worried about HIV, a test can put your mind at ease.

2. Testing is easy, free and confidential.

Getting your test is quick, easy, and free.

It can be as simple as a finger-prick test.

You can test for HIV in a community service, sexual health clinic, your GP, or even your own home.

3. Take control of your health and stay well.

Stay on top of your health.

If the test result is negative, you can take action to stay that way. If it’s positive, you can get treatment that keeps you healthy and prevents serious illness.

When people get very ill or die because of HIV, it’s usually because of testing late and missing out on treatment.

4. Keep you and your partner healthy.

If you have HIV and don’t know it, you’re more likely to pass it on. But if you know your status, you can make sure you and your partner are taking steps to stay healthy. For example, if you have a positive result, your partner could take PrEP while you start treatment. And if you have a negative result, you might choose to use PrEP yourself.

It takes about six months on treatment to become undetectable. This is when the amount of virus in your blood is so low that you can’t pass it on to other people.

5. Get the treatment and support you need.

In the UK, HIV medication and medical care is free.

If you have HIV, the sooner you start treatment, the better it is for your health.

Taking HIV medication as prescribed and getting an undetectable viral load means you can’t pass on HIV to your partner, even without a condom.

If you test positive, there’s a wealth of information and support to help you live well with HIV.