A survey of 5,000 Britons by the National AIDS Trust (NAT), has shown that people in the UK are not up to date with HIV medication, and how the law applies to positive people. 20% of people think that those who are HIV positive can only live for around ten years following diagnosis.  This is FALSE. As long as you follow your medication plan you can expect to live a normal length of life – only 16% of people knew this.

What else did the survey find?

Only 5% know that it is almost impossible to pass the virus on if you are HIV positive and your viral load is undetectable.

Only 2 out of 3 people know that people with HIV can work as chefs and nursery school teachers.  The only job people with HIV cannot do is the same as anyone who has to take medication every day – front line service for any of the Armed Forces.  Dentists, surgeons and midwives can practice if they are HIV positive, providing they monitor their condition and their viral load is undetectable. They do have to declare their status to their employer.

Over a quarter of people incorrectly thought you would be breaking the law if you were HIV positive and did not tell your GP, dentist, employer or your partner.

NAT Chief Executive, Deborah Jack, said: “The situation for someone who is diagnosed with HIV today is a world away from that faced by someone who was diagnosed when the virus was first discovered 30 years ago.  However, peoples’ understanding hasn’t kept pace with medical advances.”

Why should I get tested for HIV?

Better2Know believes that testing early, and regularly is the best way to help prevent the spread of the virus.  If you do test positive, you can get the treatment you need to prevent spreading the virus to your next partner.   The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.

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