HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust is launching a new campaign to remind gay and bisexual men in London that – if they have had unprotected anal sex with a new or casual partner – they should not delay getting tested for HIV.
Within the gay community, up to half of new infections come from men who have themselves been recently infected and don’t know it. Up to the first six months after infection, the level of virus within semen and blood is extremely high, increasing the chance that HIV will be passed on through unprotected sex. Therefore, increasing the numbers of men who test for HIV soon after they have taken a risk could lead to a significant reduction in new infection rates.
Cary James, Head of Health Improvement at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “During the last decade, testing initiatives have reduced the average time-to-diagnosis for a gay man with HIV to a little over three years. If we can drive this figure even lower, this will reduce infection levels and have a significant impact on the spread of the epidemic. With more opportunities to test than ever before, there’s really no excuse for not knowing your HIV status.
“Current guidelines suggest gay and bi men should be testing for HIV at least once a year, but our advice to anyone who thinks they have put themselves at risk is to get tested asap rather than waiting for your annual appointment. If you do have undiagnosed HIV, putting it off doesn’t just compromise your own health but that of anyone else you have unprotected sex with.”
Better2Know has HIV testing from just 10 days after potential exposure with results in 3 days from when your sample is received in the laboratory, rapid HIV testing with results in 20 minutes once you are 26 days post exposure and a wide range of screens including HIV to cover your sexual health testing requirements.