Do you know your HIV status?
EACH year on 1 December it is World
AIDS Day and people in Liverpool are being urged to get their HIV status
checked. Tests can be done with a self test kit, like the kit we reported looked
at in the previous
edition as well as NHS Test centres.
In 2014, an estimated 103,700 people in the UK were living with HIV, 17% of who
were unaware of their infection. A total of 6,151 people were newly diagnosed
with HIV in 2014.
HIV is most commonly spread by sexual activities and the exchange of body fluids
and can also be transmitted through:- childbirth, breastfeeding and sharing
While some people may develop symptoms similar to flu within the 1st 2 to 6
weeks of catching the virus, others may not show symptoms for many years while
the virus slowly replicates.
HIV is still very much a current public health issue with the number of people
living with HIV in the UK having trebled in the last 10 years. People need to
remember that unprotected sex with new partners poses risks.
HIV testing needs to be normalised so it isn't viewed any differently from any
other blood test. There are now highly effective treatments for HIV and it
should no longer be seen with fear or stigma. Prompt diagnosis of HIV not only
saves lives but reduces spread of the disease. Treatment can keep the virus
under control and the immune system healthy. People on HIV treatment can live a
healthy, active life. If HIV is diagnosed late, treatment may be less effective.
Sandra Davies, Director of Public Health in Liverpool said:- "We want to
increase awareness of HIV testing and reduce the stigma around it. It is easier
than ever to access testing for HIV including home sampling kits, but we know
there are still many people who are undiagnosed and living with the disease. We
want to encourage regular testing as early diagnosis means people can still live
a healthy active life and help prevent people going on to develop AIDS."
Steve Earle, Sahir House Services Manager said:- "Although having a HIV
test is a life changing decision for some people, the fantastic advancements in
medication over recent years means that knowing your status, as soon as
possible, can help people to live well with HIV. I sometimes meet people who
have waited a while to choose to test and most agree that they wish it was
something they had done sooner as with the medical and social support that is
available, people are able to get on with the rest of their lives."
HIV testing is quick, free and confidential. Everyone should know their status.
If you would like more information about:- 'World AIDS Day' or
want information to raise awareness, please visit:-
Please let us know via emailing us to:-
To read about our Editors experience at
getting tested, when we looked at STI testing back in 2012, click on