You should get tested if you’ve:
- had sex without a condom
- shared needles when injecting drugs
- put yourself at risk of HIV in any other way or are worried you might have.
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.
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.
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