National HIV Testing Week – What you need to know

We wrote last week about National HIV Testing Week, which runs from Saturday November 19┬áto Saturday November 26. Now it’s here, and we’re here to tell you everything you need to know.

Over HIV Testing Week, the charity Terrence Higgins Trust will be holding pop-up testing stations for those of you who don’t live near a convenient clinic. They will be in the high street, in churches, bars and at football matches. Naturally, there will be testing available at your local hospital or clinic as well.

You might think, “why should I get tested?” Well, as we discussed last week, figures have shown that we have an “alarming” amount of people getting late stage diagnoses as they were unaware they were infected. In fact, 1 in 4 people don’t know that they have HIV.

The test itself is painless and simple, and will only take a few seconds. The test simply needs a sample of your blood, either through a finger prick or the blood will be taken from your arm.

Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It should be as normal as going to the dentist or getting your blood pressure checked. HIV testing is free, fast, confidential and has never been easier.”

For those of you wondering where you can get yourself tested, there is a handy tool where you simply pop in your postcode and it will tell you of your closest options. However, one of the most trusted places in London is the clinic on 56 Dean Street.

Lastly, let’s clear up some confusion on how long it takes to get the results from your HIV test. It does depend on the type of test you take, with the rapid test you can know within hours, or sometimes within a week if the clinic or hospital needs to send the results out of house. Many places have the policy of “no news is good news”, whereas others will tell you if you have the all clear.

If you’re unsure when you will get your results, simply ask – the clinic will be happy to tell you, and if you’re in a hurry, it might be wise to ask beforehand if they have the rapid test available.