People encouraged to try an HIV home-testing kit
November 23 2016
People at risk of HIV are being urged during National HIV Testing Week (November 19-26) to visit their GP for an HIV test or to order a home-testing kit.
Dr Marjorie Gillespie, Medical Director for Primary Care at Care UK which runs a number of health centres and GP practices across the country, said she hopes the week will encourage more people at most risk of contracting HIV to take a test.
Dr Gillespie said: “The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test, as symptoms of HIV may not appear for many years. Certain groups of people are at particularly high risk and are advised to have regular tests. For example, men who have sex with men are advised to have an HIV test at least once a year, or every three months if they're having unprotected sex with new or casual partners. Black African men and women are advised to have an HIV test, and a regular HIV and STI screen, if they're having unprotected sex with new or casual partners. Other people at an increased risk of infection include those who share needles, syringes or other injecting equipment. Read more about how you get HIV.”
Home-testing kits can be ordered online or bought from pharmacies. They are very straightforward to use. You simply collect a saliva sample or small spot of blood yourself and test it at home. The result is available within minutes. It's important to check that any test you buy has a CE quality assurance mark and is licensed for sale in the UK, as poor quality HIV self-tests are available from overseas.
National HIV Testing Week is organised by HIV Prevention England (HPE), a partnership of organisations drawn from the voluntary, public and private sectors and managed by Terrence Higgins Trust.