Free HIV testing kits are being made available to anybody over the age of 16 as part of national campaign.
The tests, which are quick and confidential, are being carried out by the Terrence Higgins Trust, which is offering a self-test and result within 15 minutes, or self-sampling option where you send a small blood sample to their lab for analysis.
It’s estimated that around 4,500 people in England are living with undiagnosed HIV with the Government aiming to end new HIV cases by 2030 through the use of testing and early diagnosis.
Figures released by the Government show that last year, almost half (44%) of HIV diagnoses were classed as late, or at a point when damage to the immune system had begun. The only way to know that you’re living with HIV is by getting tested. Effective treatment means you can live a long, healthy life with HIV and, once the virus is suppressed, and crucially, HIV can’t be passed on to partners.
Antony Higginbotham MP who met with the Terrence Higgins Trust this week said:
These tests are quick, easy and painless and play a huge role in the aim to end new HIV cases by the end of the decade. Testing is nothing to be feared or embarrassed about.
Anyone can be affected by HIV and so I’m pleased to raise awareness about the importance of testing. This is about preventing new HIV transmissions and getting those with HIV the treatment they need. I hope that by testing publicly, I’m doing my bit to remove the stigma around it.
Richard Angell, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said:
We’re delighted that Antony Higginbotham MP has taken the time to have an HIV test and show just how quick and easy it is to be sure of your status. Most people who get tested will receive a negative result, but the only way to know is to test.
Today, if you do test positive, effective treatment means you can live as long as anyone else, while also reducing the amount of virus in your blood to such low levels that you cannot pass on HIV.
Terrence Higgins Trust provides support, information and advice services for those living with HIV and affected by HIV or poor sexual health. National HIV Testing Week is part of HIV Prevention England, which is coordinated by Terrence Higgins Trust on behalf of the Department of Health. The week encourages people to take a painless, simple and quick HIV test.