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Why get tested for HIV?

Why get tested

Sign promoting HIV testing in Zambia

You should get tested if you’ve:

The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. A lot of people feel nervous about it, but the reasons to test far outweigh the reasons not to test. We look at the main reasons why you should get tested.

Why get tested

It’s quick and easy

Getting an HIV test is quick, easy and almost always free. It's also the only way to know for sure whether or not you have been infected and involves a quick saliva or blood test

It’s better to know

It's normal to feel worried about HIV. But why let yourself fear the unknown? Testing early for HIV can help put your mind at ease and reduce the anxiety of not knowing.

Whether your result is negative, or positive, it's always better to know so that you can move on with your life, or start treatment if necessary. And remember, your result may not be what you expect.

It can help you live a long and healthy life

If you do have HIV, being diagnosed at an early stage means that you have a better chance of living a long and healthy life. HIV attacks your immune system. If you're diagnosed early, you have a greater chance of protecting your immune system before it gets too weak and you get ill.  

With the right treatment and care, people living with HIV can expect to live as long as the average person, so it’s important to take control of your health by getting a test.

It means you can access treatment

Being diagnosed early also means you can get treatment earlier and help protect your current and future sexual partners. HIV treatment, called antiretroviral drugs, help to lower the levels of HIV in your body, meaning HIV cannot attack your immune system. Testing for HIV means that you can access treatment earlier – this will help you live a long and healthy life.

It supports healthy sexual relationships

Testing for HIV regularly means that you can look after the sexual health of you and your partner. If you're positive, you can prevent HIV from being transmitted to your partner by using condoms and by being on treatment.

Read on to find out: When to get tested?

Photo by Jon Rawlinson/ CC BY 2.0

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Last full review: 
20 January 2016
Next full review: 
20 January 2019
Sources: 
Last updated:
15 February 2017
Last full review:
20 January 2016
Next full review:
20 January 2019