Why you should get tested for HIV…

If you feel you are at risk of catching HIV, you should get tested regularly (every 3-6 months).   Why?

  1. The test is free.
  2. If you are positive, HIV treatment means that you will live a near normal life with near normal life expectancy (in a nutshell – you’re likely to live as long as anyone else and with little symptoms!)
  3. By being on effective treatment, you STOP the spread of HIV.  Yes, that’s right, you are unlikely to pass the virus onto someone else if you are on effective treatment.  In other words, if you are HIV positive and on effective treatment where your viral load is at undetectable levels, you are highly unlikely to pass the virus on even if you have sex without condoms.   Of course, as doctors, we would always say wear condoms because you don’t want to catch other sexual diseases like gonorrhoea, syphilis or chlamydia.

If you don’t regularly get tested for HIV and you feel you are at risk of catching it…

  1. You will constantly be worried whether you are positive or negative
  2. And if you are positive and you don’t know that you are, the infection will start damaging your body to the point where you end up with the awful symptoms of  AIDS
  3. Not only that, how would you feel knowing that you have passed it on to other people, who also don’t realise they have it and also end up the same way?

Now, having considered both sides of the coin – which makes you feel more at ease?

You can get a free HIV test at your local sexual health clinic:

Oh, and by the way, HIV isn’t a disease that only affects people who are gay or bisexual.  It affects anyone who has unprotected sex.  It also affects those who use intravenous street drugs and share needles.   So… if you want to protect yourself, don’t share needles and put a condom on. 🙂

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A message from Ian Green, Chief Executive, Terrence Higgins Trust

Hi there,

I am living with HIV but, because I’m on effective treatment, I can’t pass the virus on.

It’s true for me and for the tens of thousands of other people living with HIV in the UK who are on effective treatment. This is because treatment reduces the amount of virus in our blood until it’s so low that it is undetectable and can’t be transmitted. And I want everyone to know that.

As a supporter of Terrence Higgins Trust, you may have heard about this before – but only 9% of the public know this important fact. We need to change this, so today we’re launching our Can’t Pass It On campaign to get the message out.

A year ago, the biggest scientific study of its kind confirmed what HIV research has indicated over many years: people who are on effective treatment can’t pass on the virus.

Getting this message across can help stop HIV. One in seven people living with HIV don’t know they have it. That means they’re not getting treatment and they can still pass on the virus. Fear of infection is the biggest source of stigma and discrimination around HIV – and stigma is the biggest barrier that stops people testing.Breaking the cycle of stigma is key to ending the HIV epidemic as well as improving the experiences of people living with HIV.

You can help to make this happen. Take action now and spread the big news that people living with HIV who are on effective treatment can’t pass it on:

Best wishes,

Ian

More about the Can’t Pass it On campaign here: Can’t Pass It On