Posted: Thursday 23rd November 2017
This week is HIV Testing Week and Hertfordshire County Council is reminding people that they can test for HIV in the comfort of their own homes with a free postal kit.
In 2016, there were 1,119 people living with diagnosed HIV in Hertfordshire, however estimates suggest that 13 per cent of those living with HIV are unaware of their infection.
This means that people risk having poorer health and passing the infection on to someone else. Getting a simple HIV test could change that.
The service allows people at higher risk of HIV infection to order a free self-sampling kit from a secure website, mailed to an address of their choice, and then return a self-taken blood sample for testing. So far, seven tests have come back reactive, which were then confirmed by a further test carried out by the local sexual health service.
It’s a good idea to test at least once a year. Test negative and end worries and doubt. Test positive and you can enjoy a long, healthy life – by testing early and starting treatment in time. The sooner someone with HIV starts treatment, the better it is for their health. Treatment can also reduce the amount of HIV in the body to levels at which HIV cannot be passed on. Most new infections come from unprotected sex with someone who doesn’t know they have HIV – so aren’t on medication and aren’t undetectable. So we all need to look after ourselves.
Condoms provide great protection against HIV, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy. You can get free condoms from your local sexual health clinic.
Order your postal test or find out where you can test locally.