National HIV Testing Week
National HIV Testing Awareness Week promotes testing to certain high-risk groups. Although, HIV testing is recommended to everyone, HIV testing week encourages gay and bisexual men and black African men and women to get tested. These groups make up 7/10 of the total population of people who have HIV in the UK.
HIV Testing Awareness Week seeks to present the benefits of regular HIV testing and treatment for the community and the individual especially for the high-risk groups mentioned above.
- Over 95% of people living with HIV in the UK have acquired it through sex without a condom
- In the UK, 88,769 people, including 315 children under 15, received HIV specialist care in 2015
- 6,095 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2015
Early diagnosis through HIV testing is vital as the earlier it is detected the faster treatment options are available to avoid increasingly more serious complications. Over 6000 people are newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2015, and people who are diagnosed later have around 10 times the risk of death within 1 year of HIV diagnosis than those diagnosed promptly (3.8% in comparison to 0.35%). 95% of people in the UK living with HIV have acquired the virus through unprotected sex. Your health is important and with quick and easy testing, there is really no excuse to get tested for HIV if your sexually active and are having unprotected sex.
The Plan: Test. Treat. Protect. Take Action.
- Testing is good for you. The sooner you find out you have HIV, the better it is for your health. If you have HIV for a long time without knowing, it can damage your body and even shorten your life. Test negative and you end any worries or doubt.
- The sooner someone with HIV starts treatment, the better it is for their health. It protects them from illnesses that could shorten their life
- Treatment is good for all of us. HIV medication can reduce the amount of HIV in the body to such low levels it is undetectable. Someone who is undetectable cannot pass on HIV to others.
- Most new infections come from unprotected sex with someone who doesn’t know they have HIV – so aren’t on medication and aren’t undetectable
- ‘or some of us who are more exposed to HIV, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) can provide extra protection against HIV. PrEP is when someone who doesn’t have HIV takes medication to protect themselves from getting it. PrEP does not protect against other STIs or unplanned pregnancy. For up-to-date information on PrEP, visit the Terrence Higgins Trust website.
- Take a test once a year
- Take medication if you are living with HIV
- Protect yourself and others
- Tell your friends – testing and treatment can save thousands of us from getting HIV