The lovely people at THT talk us through the importance of knowing your status.
This year’s National HIV Testing Week comes at the end of a historic year in the fight against HIV. For the first time, the number of gay men who have been diagnosed with HIV has significantly decreased. An increase in testing has played a large part in this success.
Public Health England (PHE) recently released figures that showed a 21 percent decrease in HIV diagnoses in gay and bi-sexual men in London.
This decline shows what we can achieve when we utilise all the tools available to prevent transmission of HIV. These include: increasing testing, using condoms, taking PrEP and people with HIV starting treatment sooner.
On 15th November, Terrence Higgins Trust will be launching a pop-up HIV testing shop in Hackney. Open through to 24th November, visitors to the shop will be able to take a free self-test kit home with them, which requires a simple finger-prick and gives the results within fifteen minutes.
Stigma is one of the biggest barriers to stopping people testing, because they fear the reaction from friends and family if they get a positive result. But by not testing, you could be risking your own health and that of others.
Prince Harry will be attending the launch of the shop, and along with the ‘Give HIV The Finger’ campaign will work to dispel the stigma that surrounds HIV-testing and knowing your status.
Self-testing is a quick, easy and private option, but it’s just one of the methods that you can use to be tested for HIV. You can also get tested at a sexual health clinic, community organization, at your GP or using a free postal test (www.test.hiv).
If you’re living with HIV, it’s vital that you know about it in order to protect your health with the available treatment.
You can find out more about National HIV Testing Week, which runs from 18 – 24 November, by visiting www.startswithme.org.uk