In The South

Take a test during National HIV Testing Week 2017

Besi Besemar October 25, 2017

There are still alarming and unacceptable rates of undiagnosed HIV and late diagnoses, which perpetuate the spread of HIV in the UK.

However, there remains a powerful tool that could help stop the epidemic in its tracks: the HIV test.

During National HIV Testing Week, co-ordinated by Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), the charity wants to create a culture shift so that regular testing becomes the norm in every community.

People who know their HIV status, with early detection and effective treatment, can live long and healthy lives with the virus. Taking treatment for HIV lowers the amount of virus in your blood to ‘undetectable’ levels, which stops it from damaging the immune system and means the virus cannot be passed on to other people.

But, too many people are missing out on HIV tests – perhaps due to fear of the result, or the assumption that they’re not at risk. HIV remains an issue for everyone.

Aaron, who by day lives on a canal barge out in the countryside, and by night is Vicki Vivacious, the queen of drag, a star in Soho, is one of the new faces of National HIV Testing Week, and sharing his story of regularly testing.

“I regularly get tested for HIV, and I remember my first one like it was yesterday,” says Aaron. “I was 17 and it was scary because it was the unknown. I didn’t know what to expect and I was worried what other people might say if it was positive. But now I know it’s so much better to test and know.

“I want to be a part of this campaign to help spread awareness and educate people. I work on the scene, and so I hope by having people in the campaign that people know and relate to, we can send them a message and get them testing.”

HIV testing is free, fast, confidential and has never been easier. You can test in a hospital, sexual health clinic, at a community event, by post, or even at home.

Give HIV the finger: a finger prick test is all it takes.

National HIV Testing Week commences November 18, 2017.

To find out where to get a free HIV test, or order a HIV self-test kit, click here: