From Monday 6 February, we’re calling on people across the country to get tested and know their status – because HIV can affect anyone.
Testing for HIV is now quick and easy.
For National HIV Testing Week, anyone in England can order a free test from freetesting.hiv. It’s a great opportunity for you to get tested and encourage others to do the same, particularly those from groups most affected by HIV, including gay and bisexual men and people of Black African ethnicity.
It used to take weeks to get the result of an HIV test, but now it can be done in the comfort of your own home by taking a self-test with just minutes to wait before finding out your HIV status, or a postal test which is sent to a lab and screened for both HIV and syphilis at the same time. The free test kits are small enough to fit through a letterbox. They arrive in plain packaging with information and signposting to support alongside the test. If a positive or ‘reactive’ result is given then a confirmatory test in a sexual health clinic is necessary to make sure the result is correct.
This year, we’re replacing ‘Give HIV The Finger’ with ‘I Test’ to explore people’s different reasons for testing – whether it’s to help you live your life, whatever the result, or to be part of the generation that stops HIV.
Regular HIV testing benefits each and every one of us. People can live with HIV for a long time without any symptoms and testing is the only way to know your status. Most tests come back negative, but it’s always better to know. If you test positive, it’s important to know you can live a long and fulfilling life with HIV. There’s support available to help you process the change and people on effective HIV Treatment Can’t Pass It On to partners.
The sooner you know it, the sooner you can get on treatment if needed and avoid passing the virus on to anyone else. Most people will get a negative result but whatever happens, it’s important to know that anyone diagnosed with HIV in the UK can access free treatment and support.
National HIV Testing Week runs from Monday 6 February until Sunday 11 February and is coordinated by us on behalf of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).