HIV testing: Free do-it-at home equipment supplied in England

A Person Doing A Finger Prick TestGetty Images

Free HIV assessments that may be carried out at home are being supplied this week to individuals in England.

It is a part of a authorities drive to enhance analysis, which dropped off through the Covid pandemic.

The equipment is sufficiently small to suit via the letterbox and arrives in plain packaging via the publish.

It offers a outcome inside 15 minutes by testing a drop of blood from a finger prick. A ‘reactive’ outcome means HIV is feasible and a clinic examine is required.

Support and assist is on the market to rearrange this.

If the result’s adverse it means the check didn’t detect HIV. If you assume you might be prone to HIV, nevertheless, you need to check each three months as a result of it may take some time for the virus to indicate within the blood.

About 4,400 individuals in England are living with undiagnosed HIV, which comes with severe well being dangers.

HIV medicine can preserve the virus at undetectable ranges, which means you can’t move HIV on and your well being is protected.

Most individuals get the virus from somebody who’s unaware they’ve it, in response to the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) charity which campaigns about and supplies providers referring to HIV and sexual well being.

HIV testing charges stay a fifth decrease than earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic – with heterosexual males particularly now testing far lower than in 2019.

Testing amongst homosexual and bisexual males has elevated however charges of testing amongst girls have fallen by 22% in comparison with 2019, whereas there was a 41% drop for heterosexual males.

Straight women and men are additionally much more prone to be recognized at a late stage.

THT has been working with the BBC drama EastEnders to lift consciousness of HIV amongst heterosexuals via a storyline the place a lead character known as Zack Hudson is recognized with the virus.

Taku Mukiwa, head of well being programmes at THT, mentioned: “Gay and bisexual men and black African people continue to be the most impacted by HIV in the UK, but anyone who’s sexually active can be affected and should think about testing.

“As the EastEnders HIV storyline we have been advising on reveals, the reality is it is at all times higher to know your HIV standing, whether or not optimistic or adverse.

“If it’s negative, you can make sure it stays that way.

“While, as Zack in EastEnders is studying, big advances in HIV remedy imply you may reside a protracted wholesome life with the virus, have kids who’re HIV-negative and that HIV cannot be handed on to anybody else.”

People can live with HIV for a long time without any symptoms. Testing is the only way to know your HIV status.

Using a condom throughout intercourse can forestall infections.

Dr Alison Brown, interim head of HIV surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “HIV doesn’t discriminate, so irrespective of your gender or sexual orientation.

“Taking up a free and confidential HIV test regularly when having condom-less sex will ensure you’re diagnosed early and started on effective treatment, helping to reduce transmission of HIV and the number of people with undiagnosed HIV.”

It is beneficial that anybody who’s sexually lively assessments for HIV yearly, and extra recurrently if in case you have a brand new or a number of companions.

The free testing initiative coincides with National HIV Testing Week and making progress in direction of the federal government’s objective of ending new HIV instances by 2030.

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