National HIV Testing Week promotes HIV testing to the most affected population groups in England, men who have sex with men (MSM) and black African men and women. These groups make up seven out of 10 people in the UK living with HIV.
The week is co-ordinated by HIV Prevention England (HPE) with support and participation from organisations in the public, statutory and private sectors, and promotes the benefits of regular testing and treatment for both the individual and community.
Testing for HIV is free, fast, confidential and simple – you can now even do it at home.
Testing is good for YOU
The sooner you find out you have HIV, the better it is for your health. If you have HIV for a long time without knowing, it can damage your health and shorten your life. It’s a good idea to test at least once a year (or more if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner).
Testing is good for ALL OF US
Most people get HIV from someone who doesn’t know they have it – the only way to be sure is to get tested.
Do your bit to stop HIV in the UK by getting tested. Find out:
Prince Harry has called for HIV testing to be seen as “completely normal and accessible”, in a new video to mark National HIV Testing Week.
The Duke of Sussex said people should view getting testing for HIV the same as getting protected against viruses like “cold and flu”.
He said in the video: “There is still too much stigma, which is stopping so many of us from getting a simple, quick and easy test.
“Taking an HIV test is something to be proud of – not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about.”
Around one-in-eight people living with HIV are undiagnosed, while 43% of people who were diagnosed in 2017 did so at a late stage of the virus, meaning damage to their immune system had already begun.
A late diagnosis can lead to a 10-fold increased risk of death.
The royal has long advocated for better HIV testing, and when he got tested live on Facebook two years ago there was a five-fold increase in orders for HIV tests from the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Ian Green, chief executive of the charity, said: “We’re thrilled to have the Duke’s continued support for tackling HIV stigma and normalising testing, ahead of what we hope will be the most successful National HIV Testing Week ever.”
Public Health England (PHE) chief executive, Duncan Selbie, said: “Testing and early diagnosis are critical to ensure that those with HIV can access effective treatments and go on to live a long and healthy life.”
Treatment is good for YOU
If you have HIV, the sooner you start treatment, the better it is for your health – it protects you from illnesses which could shorten your life.
Treatment is good for ALL OF US
People on effective treatment cannot pass on HIV. That’s because HIV medication works by reducing the amount of the virus in the body to ‘undetectable’ levels. This means the levels of HIV are so low that the virus cannot be passed on. This is called having an ‘undetectable viral load’.
Find out more about how treatment stops HIV being passed on.