HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a viral infection that damages cells in your immune system. As a result, it weakens the body’s ability to fight off everyday infections such as the common cold. If you have HIV and get sick with a cold, you are much more likely to experience complications, such as developing pneumonia.
HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person, such as semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood and breast milk. It is not found in sweat, urine or saliva. Meaning HIV is typically spread by unprotected sex, the sharing of injecting equipment such as needles, and/ or passed from mother to baby either through birth or breastfeeding.
About National HIV Testing Week
National HIV Testing Week #HIVTestWeek aims to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS. It is an annual national campaign to encourage people to get tested for HIV regularly to reduce the number of people who are diagnosed late or remain undiagnosed.
Out of the 106,890 people in the UK with HIV, 1 in 20 of those do not realise they are HIV positive. Which is why it is so important to make sure everyone gets tested to know their status.
Data from 2019, revealed that 42% of people were diagnosed late. A late diagnosis significantly increases the risk of the virus seriously damaging your health, not to mention the fact that you are more likely to pass the virus on during the period when you are unaware of a positive diagnosis. The only means to address this issue is to increase awareness of the importance of HIV testing.
If you have HIV for a long time without knowing, it can damage your health and shorten your life expectancy. It’s a good idea to test at least once a year (or more if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner). Early detection can give you a better quality of life and reduce the spread of the disease.
While there is no ‘cure’ for HIV, thankfully there are now very effective treatments available that allow those who are HIV positive to live a healthy life and have a normal life expectancy. There is also emergency treatment available if you have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours (PEP). Additionally, there is medication available to prevent contracting HIV (PrEP) and even a tablet that will prevent you passing the virus on to anyone else. Access to these treatments is available to anyone HIV positive but the only way to know your HIV status is to get tested.
Know Your Status
At Fleet Street Clinic, we have two types of HIV tests available: an instant test and a blood test. An instant HIV test can provide you with results within a 15 minute nurse appointment. The test is a simple blood test done via a needle prick to the finger and is suitable for use 90 days post-exposure. It is a very simple process with extremely accurate results.
For HIV testing week we’re promoting our ‘So quick you can do whilst grabbing a coffee’ campaign to highlight just how quick an HIV test can be. We want to encourage all to make time to find out their HIV status.
We offer a number of HIV Tests, some of which can be performed in the clinic in just 15 minutes. You can be tested for HIV from as early as 28 days post-contact with a blood test, but don’t worry, during your appointment the clinician will let you know which test they recommend based on your history. Following an HIV test, we are on hand to offer guidance and referrals, should they be required.
Your privacy will be strictly protected.
You can book an HIV Test Online.