Why get tested for HIV?
Testing is the only way to know whether you have HIV or not and if you don’t test, you can’t treat.
Is testing easy?
It’s never been easier! In addition to traditional clinical testing (where a healthcare worker does the test for you in a clinic) and home sampling (where you take your own large blood sample and pot off to a lab) you can now test yourself! It is very simple and takes only a few minutes to #KnowYourStatus with a BioSURE HIV Self Test. Take control. Just follow the few easy steps, a Prick, Suck and a Poke, and you will know your own result, on your own terms in just 15 minutes.
Is testing confidential?
HIV self-testing is the only way to be the first person to know your own status and with no labs and no questions, it is 100% confidential. You can test where you want, when you want and with who you want. And of course there is information about support available for both positive and negative test results included with your test.
Can I have HIV and unknowingly pass it onto someone else?
In 2017, it was estimated that 101,600 people were living with HIV in the UK and about 10,000 of them don’t know that they are living with the virus. If you don’t know your status, you are potentially at risk of unknowingly passing the virus onto anyone you have unprotected sex with. Of course you can use condoms, but if you have a long term partner that is less likely to be the case. HIV is a treatable condition and anti-retroviral treatments are now so successful that they can supress the virus to undetectable levels so that you can’t pass the virus on even through unprotected sex – but you have to know your status first. Like we said above – if you don’t test you can’t treat and you really should be more worried about not knowing your status than knowing it. Getting diagnosed and receiving treatment really is the way forward.
When is best to start treatment?
It is always best to start treatment as soon as possible. Diagnosing HIV early on prevents the progression of the virus so your immune system is protected and this means you are highly unlikely to develop AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) . Late diagnoses, which are almost 50% of all new UK diagnoses, impacts your life experience and likelihood of staying well and healthy.
HIV is known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which basically means that the virus attacks your immune system, lowering your immunity to other infections.
If you are a person living with HIV, antiretroviral treatments (ART's) are now so effective, that if they are taken correctly the HIV virus can be supressed to undetectable levels (also known as viral suppression).
The ARTs stop the virus from reproducing and that means your immune system can repair itself and isn’t further damaged. This means that you can live an active and healthy life and have a normal life expectancy.
What are the symptoms of HIV?
Most symptoms of HIV go unrecognised. 4-6 weeks after the initial exposure to HIV, about 90% of people can experience one or more symptoms of infection which can include flu-like symptoms such as a headache, fever, sore throat, fatigue, chest rash etc. This is when your antibodies start to kick-in and be produced. Following this, the infection remains asymptomatic (doesn’t have any symptoms) until your immune system becomes so damaged it can no longer fight off common infections and cancers, which is why late diagnosis is so common.
The power to test and know your status is in your hands.