National HIV Testing Week 2015 began on Saturday 21 November in the run up to World Aids Day on 1st December.
During the week, many organisations in England are teaming up to encourage people in higher risk communities, including men who have sex with men and African people, to take an HIV test. Across England, organisations will offer more opportunities to test, both in clinics and in the community.
HPE is the Government-funded national HIV prevention programme. HPE is a partnership of organisations drawn from the voluntary, public and private sectors. It is managed by Terrence Higgins Trust and supported by BHA for Equality, Sigma Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, MBARC, NAM Publications and Yorkshire MESMAC. HPE is accountable to Public Health England.
WHY GET TESTED?
Stephen Fry explains it best in this short video:
KNOWING IS EMPOWERMENT: HIV is no longer a “death sentence” . By knowing your status you can take control of your health, seek medical assistance, get access to medicine regimes and lead a normal life. NOT KNOWING means you could have a potentially fatal disease in your body slowly weakening your immune system and causing damage to your body, some which can lead to opportunistic infections.
It may be irresponsible for us to say this…but if you bareback, those on HAART are ironically “safer” to have sex with than those “who don’t know”. Those on medical regimes are less able to pass the virus on if you are engaging in non-safe sex due to the lower viral load caused by the current anti-HIV medicines. However those who are not aware of their status may have high viral loads and are more infectious being able to more easily pass the virus form one person to another. You can read an article on unprotected sex and belief about HIV infection HERE.
WHERE CAN I GET TESTED? This link has information for places you can get a FREE HIV test https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/prevention/hiv-testing/hiv-test-locations/