Today is mid-way through National and European HIV Testing Week 2016. It has been a busy week this year. We have helped lots of people to get tested for HIV all over the UK, Ireland and Spain. We have also been donating to the Terrence Higgins Trust for every HIV test that we have sold on its own or as part of a screen.
The aim of the week is to support and encourage regular HIV testing for anyone who is at risk. This can include:
Around half of all new HIV infections each year are in the heterosexual community, and half in the gay community. There are around 6,000 new HIV infections in the UK each year, that is over 16 every day. Around 1 in 5 people who are HIV positive are not aware of their status. This means they are not getting treatment. This means they are more likely to pass the infection on to their partners.
The most important thing with HIV is to get treatment quickly before the virus causes long lasting damage to your body. These days, there no longer needs to be a “cocktail of drugs” with many HIV positive patients taking just one pill a day. This pill helps people lead a normal life, and often, with the right medical supervision, it can reduce your viral load to “undetectable”. This does not mean you are cured. If you stop taking your medication your viral load will rise again. It does mean that the HIV virus is well controlled, causing minimal damage to your body. There have also been no recorded instances of someone with an undetectable viral load passing the virus on. Good news for everyone.
If you are worried about your HIV status, please contact us, and we will answer you questions and help you to book your appointment. We are continuing to donate to the Terrence Higgins Trust until 2 December 2016.