National HIV Testing Week is the perfect time to get a test. People get a test for STIs, but HIV isn’t top of their concerns. I am a huge believer in looking after your own mental, physical and sexual health. So I wanted to take this opportunity to not only promote National HIV Testing Week but also go for a test myself to prove how easy it can be.
Give HIV the finger
Croydon Hospital all week has had a stand in the foyer of the hospital offering FREE HIV tests. A lovely Doctor called Sophie was there to offer immediate testing and results. You simply have to give a couple of details about yourself, before being led behind a curtain which offers you privacy. The blood test is simply a prick to the finger. It took only a couple of minutes to find out that I did not carry the HIV virus. It’s sad to hear stories of people who had been in denial or had not gone for sexual health check-ups. HIV progressed without early intervention.
5 reasons why you should test for HIV?
The information below is based on a guide produced by Terrence Higgins Trust for HIV Prevention England.
1. Be sure of your status
Testing is the only way to know, so if you have never been tested, or it’s been a year since your last test, now is the time! If you are worried you have taken risks having had unprotected sex. A test can put your mind at ease.
2. Testing is easy, free and confidential
It’s free, quick and really easy to get a test. The finger prick test doesn’t hurt and you won’t have to worry about needles. I had my test down in the foyer of Croydon Hospital confidentially. You can get a test at a sexual health clinic, doctor, or even order tests to your own home.
3. Take control of your health and stay well
Your health as Gandhi said is your wealth and your responsibility in life. You owe it to yourself to manage your sexual health too. If ever I begin a new relationship, and you discuss having sex without protection. As cringe as it might seem. It’s important to have this conversation. We still need to break down the stigma of HIV testing. In a former relationship, it caused conflict from having an HIV test. The reason: because the girls he had slept with could never have passed on anything ‘like that’. If I had concerns it was because of my sexual history. It’s’ ridiculous that people can try to make you feel bad about wanting to protect your health, yet they are the ones who are putting you at risk. Don’t stand for it.
4. Keep you and your partner healthy
If you both don’t know you have HIV, you can’t take steps to prevent passing it on to your partner. You both have a responsibility to each other to stay and keep well and healthy.
5. Get the treatment and support you need
In the UK, HIV medication and medical care are free. The sooner you get treatment the better it is to manage it. Medication is available now for people who carry HIV. If you test positive, there’s a wealth of information and support to help you live well with HIV.