It’s never been easier to get tested for HIV in Milton Keynes and getting diagnosed early can mean quicker treatment and protecting those close to you.
There are now many different ways to get a free HIV test. Tests are available at any sexual health service in Milton Keynes and many family doctors can offer tests to patients which give a negative or reactive result straight away.
This means people who want to check their HIV status but don’t want to go to a clinic, can still be tested.
Testing for HIV and knowing the result is really important. Some people won’t know that they have HIV, as you can live with the virus for many years without any symptoms. This means that they might unknowingly pass the virus to other people. Knowing that someone has HIV soon after infection means that treatment can start earlier and makes a huge difference in how effective the treatment is in keeping them well.
Cass Knight, public health principal, who is spearheading HIV testing in Milton Keynes, stresses that early detection is vital.
She said: “Although there remains no cure, life expectancy for people diagnosed with HIV has increased following the introduction of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy in the mid-1990s.
“But it is very much the case, as with many other conditions, the earlier HIV is diagnosed, the earlier you can start treatment and avoid becoming ill and also reduce onward transmission.”
Milton Keynes is an area of high prevalence for HIV (proportion of people with the virus). Testing is one part of a programme of work to reduce infection and to improve the lives of people with HIV. The number of people who agreed to be tested more than doubled from June 2014 (291) to April 2015 (659).
Getting tested for HIV in Milton Keynes has never been easier. It’s really important to know your HIV status to get treatment at the right time and to protect others that you might pass the virus on to.
In 2014, an estimated 103,700 people in the UK were living with HIV, of whom 17 per cent (18,100) were unaware of their infection and at risk of unknowingly passing on HIV if having sex without a condom (PHE, 2016).
As well as being able to get a free test at any sexual health service in the city, just under a year ago ‘home sampling kits’ became available for those people suspected of being at a higher risk. Initially this was funded by NHS England, but Milton Keynes Council now works with the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) to provide this service. Online testing kits are available at www.test.hiv for eligible residents.
HIV is usually transferred during sex or by sharing needles. It is really important to remember to practice safe sex (eg using condoms).
October 17, 2016