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National HIV Testing Week 2021

NATIONAL HIV TESTING WEEK  1ST – 7TH FEBRUARY 2021

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What is National HIV Testing Week?

The aim of National HIV Testing Week is to promote regular HIV testing to reduce the numbers of undiagnosed people and those diagnosed late.

  • It is now estimated that there are 105,200 people living with HIV in the UK
  • The total number of people newly diagnosed with HIV in 2019 was 4,139. This is 10% lower than the 4,580 diagnosed in 2018
  • 1 in 6 people with HIV are unaware they have it
  • Late diagnosis rates are still high – 42% of people were diagnosed late in 2019
  • People can live with HIV for a long time without any symptoms. Testing is the only way to know your HIV status
  • If you have HIV, finding out means you can start treatment, stay healthy and avoid passing the virus onto to anyone else
  • Testing for HIV is still possible despite COVID-19 restrictions. You can test at home using our STI home testing kits. These are safe and confidential, and enable you to take a test at your own convenience. Testing for HIV is quick and easy – home testing kits involve a finger-prick test
  • Anyone diagnosed with HIV in the UK can access free and confidential treatment and support

Early diagnosis

  • Early diagnosis enables you to start treatment sooner, this can lead to better long term health outcomes
  • Early diagnosis and starting treatment earlier can also reduce the risk of passing the virus onto others

How to test

  • Online testing is available via our website –  please click here for info
  • If you opt for online testing, please watch this video on how to take the finger-prick blood test
  • You can also get a test at Birdsfoot Lane Pharmacy, 255 Birdsfoot Lane, Luton, LU3 2HX. Tel – 01582 591616

Window period

  • Know your window periods . . . The HIV window period is the time between getting HIV and when HIV will show up on a test.
  • The window period for blood tests taken in Luton Sexual Health clinic is 45 days
  • The window period for any Point Of Care Test – finger prick or saliva –  is 90 days (this applies to our online testing kits)

Prevention

  • Regular condom use, if used correctly, is an effective way to reduce HIV transmission
  • If you require a condom card to obtain free condoms or if you already have a condom card and require more condoms (over 18), please text 07976406911 along with your name, address (including postcode), age, gender and ethnicity.
  • If you are under 18 and require a condom card or free condoms, please call 07976406409 or 07976406912
  • If you feel you have been exposed to HIV, you can access PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) within 72 hours (this course of medication is more effective the sooner it is started) Please contact us ASAP on 01582 497070 to book an urgent assessment
  • You can also access PrEP(Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) which is medication that can be taken before sexual activity to prevent HIV transmission.
  • TasP – (Treatment As Prevention) and U=U – (Undectable = Untransmissble). Stringently taking HIV medication and having a consistently undetectable viral load means you cannot pass HIV to your sexual partners.

Information and Advice

  • Further information about HIV can be found on our HIV pages  or the Terrance Higgins Trust website
  • For under 18’s requiring a HIV test please call 07976406912 to discuss testing options
  • Anyone can call Luton Sexual Health on 01582 497070 and ask to book a telephone appointment for further information and advice