It’s national HIV testing week. Give HIV the finger! A finger-prick test is all that it takes.

Give HIV the finger image

National HIV Testing Week, beginning Saturday 18 November, raises awareness of the importance of HIV testing and increases opportunities to test in different settings.

Since 2015, Public Health England (PHE) and a number of participating local authorities have funded a national HIV postal testing scheme for people from communities which experience a higher prevalence of HIV. These include gay and bisexual men, black Africans, and individuals who have a partner from a high prevalence country.

In support of National HIV Testing Week 2017, PHE have expanded availability of free HIV postal test kits to all areas of England including North Yorkshire and York. The additional tests will be available to order from now until Thursday 4 January 2018. Postal HIV tests can be ordered from www.test.hiv.

YorSexualHealth (YSH) offers free and confidential HIV and STI testing in all of their clinics, online and in a range of community settings with our partners Yorkshire MESMAC in York and North Yorkshire . All testing is free and confidential.

What is a postal HIV test?

HIV postal test kits, or home sampling kits as they are also known, allow you to take a sample yourself at home by taking a finger-prick blood test. This postal test is then sent to a local laboratory for HIV testing. If you have a reactive test result, you will be contacted within five working days and given support options and information on where to get specialist services. You can of course contact us here at NYAA. Our contact details are here.

The postal test is highly accurate, but is only effective four weeks after infection, so if you think the infection is more recent, then this test will not be right for you. You will need to go to an HIV clinic or a GUM clinic, where they can do the right sort of test for recent infections.

Testing is good for you. The sooner you find out whether you have HIV, the better it is for your health. If you have HIV for a long time without knowing, it can damage your body and even shorten your life. Test positive and you can enjoy a long, healthy life – by testing early and starting treatment promptly. Today’s HIV treatment is very easy to take for most peole, with few if any side-effects. And if you test negative, you can put your mind at ease by ending any worries or doubt.

Testing is good for all of us. Someone taking medication and with an undetectable level of virus in their blood cannot pass on HIV – U=U…undetectable equals untransmittable.  If more people test and get the treatment they need, then we can dramatically cut the numbers who get HIV in the future – this effect is already being seen in some parts of the UK.