Brighton & Hove has the seventh highest prevalence rate of HIV in England, and the highest outside of London. Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown people have mainly been maintaining physical distancing and many have not had sex with anyone from outside their immediate household. This, of course, means fewer people are having sex and fewer people are getting HIV.
‘Not hooking-up during lockdown really will help to make a difference in slowing down the spread of COVID-19 and ease the burden on the NHS. If you’re finding it hard not to hook-up, THT Brighton is available for support.’
Along with the rest of the UK, Brighton & Hove has exceeded the Fast Track Cities Initiative target of 90-90-90. Ninety-three per-cent of people living with HIV know their status, 99% of those are on treatment and 98% of those on treatment have undetectable virus in their blood stream.
It is hoped the lockdown can help THT and other HIV/AIDS charities and organisations to diagnose the remaining 7% and potentially end new HIV infections altogether.
It can take four to eight weeks for HIV to show up in tests, which means testing while we are in lockdown will be more accurate and will pick up almost everyone who has the virus.
What’s more, when someone first acquires HIV, they are at their most infectious and more likely to pass on the virus. With fewer new infectious cases, transmission will be reduced even further.
If those who test positive start effective treatment straight away, the virus will become untraceable in the blood stream. It’s then impossible for them to pass it on to anyone else.
Order a free STI self-test to your home
It’s not just HIV that you can test for during lockdown. Anyone who is sexually active can get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and should test regularly.
While face to face appointments are limited to those with urgent needs at the moment, you can order a free self-testing kit online. You’ll receive a discreet pack in the post containing everything you need to test for the most prevalent STIs, including prepaid return packaging.
Left untreated, STIs can have serious health consequences. Getting treated quickly lowers the risk of developing painful complications.
Started by London-based sexual health clinic, 56 Dean Street, the Time to Test campaign is asking people to test now to stop HIV. Brighton & Hove City Council is supporting their message locally and asking people to order a free STI self-test kit from Brighton & Hove Sexual Health & Contraception Service (SHAC).
- Visit the SHAC website: www.brightonsexualhealth.com
- Follow SHAC on Twitter @Brighton_SHAC
- Look up THT Brighton on Facebook @THTBrighton
- Visit the THT website: www.tht.org.uk
- Visit the 56 Dean Street website: https://dean.st/56deanstreet/
- Look at the British Association for Sexual Health & HIV guidance on sex, social distancing and Covid-19