There are many reasons people give for not having an HIV test. These barriers are the reason that there (according to the Terrence Higgins Trust) around 22,000 people in the UK who do not know their status. If you are positive and do not know it, then you the virus can start to cause long-term damage to your body, and you can infect new people. With today’s drugs, your life expectancy will not change, and most people following their regime have such low viral loads (amount of virus in their bodies) that it is virtually impossible for them to pass the virus on.
Many of the reasons also relate to the perceived stigma of being HIV positive. If you think about, this is an odd stigma that society has developed. Nearly all of us have sex. Even more of us arrived on Earth as a result of two people having unprotected sex. Having an HIV test is a sensible thing to do, and we wish it would become more normal.
The Royal London hospital has introduced “opt-out” testing for all adults in its critical care list. This was a trial to see if if the hospital could find more undiagnosed patients. It helped to make having a test seem normal by asking patients to choose not to have the test. A far cry from the counselling you needed to have the day before in the 1980’s when HIV testing was first publicised (you had to come back the next day if you still wanted the test). In the pilot, they found that 52% of patients had the test – 46% more than the previous period. With a 0.6% positive rate (three times higher than the previous six months) which is the same as the Whitechapel area of London where the hospital is located. The pilot has now ended and become the normal practice in the unit. The patients are now getting the treatment they needed for advanced HIV.
Better2Know has a range of HIV tests depending on your needs and how long it has been since the incident you are concerned about. We can help you get the right test for you.
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