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To request a home sampling test, you can click here if you live in the Luton area to order one via post.

If you have experienced exposure to HIV within the last 72 hours you can receive Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV transmission. Attend one of our clinics as soon as possible, as the sooner the treatment is started the more effective it is.

What is it?

HIV is a virus that damages the body’s immune system; this makes it difficult to fight off infections and diseases.

Although there is currently no cure for HIV, effective treatment is available.

How is it passed on?

The virus is passed on through exchanging bodily fluids (such as semen, vaginal fluid, blood or breast milk)

The most common ways HIV is passed on are:

  • Having vaginal or anal sex without a condom.
  • Sharing needles or injecting equipment
  • From mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. This can be prevented with medication.

You can’t get HIV from sharing toilet seats, towels, cups, plates, cutlery, food or shaking hands and kissing.

What are the symptoms?

Most people who are infected with HIV experience a short, flu-like illness that happens two to six weeks after infection.

Not everyone experiences early symptoms. Longer-term symptoms can include weight loss, skin rashes, swollen glands, diarrhoea and infections.

HIV can affect anyone and people with HIV can look and feel healthy for years so the only way to know whether you have HIV is to get tested.

How do you test for it?

We offer all clients HIV testing at Luton Sexual Health.

Blood test

  • A blood test is the most common way to test for HIV
  • The test provides a reliable result 4 weeks after exposure to HIV
  • The blood test is not a fasting blood test, so please eat and drink as normal prior to your appointment

If you live within Luton and are aged 18 and over (or 16 and over if you are a male who has sex with men), you can order a home test kit online. Please click here if you would like to order one to your home.

Some pharmacies in Luton also offer testing, please see our HIV testing page for more info.

What is the treatment?

If you test positive for HIV, we will discuss the options for treatment with you. It is recommended that people with HIV start treatment as soon as possible.

When HIV is managed well, by taking medication correctly every day you are able to prevent the HIV damaging your immune system. This enables most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life as long as the infection is found and treated early.

Luton Sexual Health provides free treatment and care for people living with HIV in a relaxed, non-judgmental environment. Please see here for more details.

Find out how to avoid STIs.