National HIV testing week
Published: 15 Nov 2018
National HIV testing week launches on Saturday 17 November and Hertfordshire County Council is encouraging anyone who thinks they may be at risk to get tested by ordering a self-test kit or visiting your local sexual health clinic.
Getting tested is easier and more convenient than ever before with free test kits available for all Hertfordshire residents that can be ordered online and completed at home.
Since 2015 more than 1,600 people in the county have ordered a free self-test kit from the national HIV Home Sampling Service – www.test.hiv
Did you know that people on effective treatment cannot pass on HIV? That’s because medication reduces the level of the virus in the body to ‘undetectable’ levels.
In 2017 there were 1,140 people aged 15-59 living with diagnosed HIV in Hertfordshire. Most people get HIV from someone who doesn’t know they have it so the only way to make sure is to get tested. Many living with the infection are unaware they have it which means they risk having poorer health and could pass it on to someone else.
Cabinet Member for Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council, Richard Roberts, said: “Testing for HIV early is crucial to all of our health and wellbeing and can improve our future prospects hugely.
“We all need to look after every aspect of our health and bodies which includes our sexual health, although it can sometimes be ignored.
“It is great to see that being able to order free test kits online has been so successful and has become an important and valuable service for our residents.
“We hope the use of the online testing service will continue to grow and more people will realise the importance of getting tested.”
The idea of HIV testing week is to promote the ways people can get tested and reduce the rates of those who are undiagnosed or diagnosed late.
To get a free and confidential HIV test,
• Visit your local sexual health service. To find your nearest clinic and opening times visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/sexualhealth
• Order a free testing kit from www.test.hiv and test in the privacy of your own home
Remember, 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.
For more information about all of the above, visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/sexualhealth and follow the link to HIV or call Sexual Health Hertfordshire on 0300 008 5522.