Benefits of testing
If you have never taken an HIV test and are worried that you may have been at risk, it is better for your long-term health to know your HIV status.
In the early years of the HIV epidemic, testing was often discouraged because no treatment options were available. Today HIV drugs can be lifesaving and increase both quantity and quality of life.
Not taking an HIV test won’t make HIV go away. People who are not diagnosed until HIV has severely damaged their immune system, or who don’t start HIV therapy until very late, survive for a shorter time than people who start therapy sooner.
Research shows that people who know they are HIV-positive are less likely to pass on HIV to other people. Studies show that HIV treatment lowers HIV viral load. This can make you less infectious to other people and less likely to pass on HIV to other people.
HIV testing puts you firmly in control. People who receive regular monitoring for HIV are more likely to have an early diagnosis, which has been shown to increase the chances of living longer.
It is now possible to take an HIV test in a wider range of settings than a decade ago. You may now be able to test at a community venue like an HIV charity in addition to your local sexual health clinic or GP surgery. There are a range of rapid finger prick and saliva HIV tests.
It’s better to know.
Home sampling kits are available at some voluntary sector venues – and can be ordered online through www.tht.org.uk and privately online.
Home testing kits will be available in the UK in April 2014. We’ll update you about this later.