You can stop HIV
We can stop HIV, but it takes each of us to make it happen.
It Starts With Me is a national campaign which brings together real people and their stories to stop HIV.
Here’s the plan:
Test – Treat – Protect – Take Action
It’s good for you as an individual and it will benefit all of us.
Testing is good for you. The sooner you find out 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 is a good idea to test at least once a year (or more often if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner).
Testing is free, fast, confidential and simple – you can even do it at home.
*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.
National HIV Testing Week, which in 2016 took place from 19-25 November, raises awareness of the importance of HIV testing and increases opportunities to test in different settings.
Treatment is good for you. We know that the sooner someone with HIV starts treatment, the better it is for their health – it protects them from illnesses which could shorten their life.
Treatment is good for all of us. HIV medication can reduce the amount of HIV in the body to such low levels it is undetectable. Someone who is undetectable cannot pass on HIV to others.
Protection is good for you. 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.
Condoms are the best barrier against HIV, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies.
For some of us who are more exposed to HIV, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) can provide extra protection against HIV. PrEP is when someone who doesn’t have HIV takes medication to protect themselves from getting it. PrEP does not protect against other STIs or unplanned pregnancy. For up-to-date information on PrEP, visit the Terrence Higgins Trust website.
Protection is good for all of us. Studies have shown that more testing and treatment alone will not be enough to stop the HIV epidemic. We must continue to protect ourselves and those we care about. If we do, we can be the generation who stops the epidemic for good.
You can make a difference:
- Test at least once a year.
- Take HIV medication if you’re living with HIV.
- Protect yourself and others.
- Tell you friends how – together with protection – testing and treatment can save thousands of us from getting HIV.