What is your reason for testing for HIV? Maybe it’s habit. Maybe it’s because you did something a little on the ‘riskier’ side.

We could write a big long list of reasons to test for HIV but we have condensed it down to three very simple and powerful examples of why testing for HIV is so important (inspired by GMFA’s new campaign - see: every previous article).

1. Test for me

Or in this case, test for you (just to make it a little confusing).

Testing for HIV should fundamentally be about you and your own health. Knowing your status ensures your own peace of mind and makes sure you know where you are at with your sexual well-being.

What if the test comes back positive? Well, the earlier you are diagnosed, the sooner you can start taking medication. HIV-positive people on effective medication not only can live long, healthy lives, they can also reduce their viral load, and those with extremely low viral loads become HIV-undetectable. This means they cannot sexually pass on HIV to anyone else. Which leads us to...

2. Test for him

Having an HIV test isn’t a selfish act. By testing you also look after the ones that you love. Or lust. Maybe it’s your husband or boyfriend, maybe it’s someone you’re dating or maybe it’s just a guy you’re hooking up with - but testing for HIV looks after both of you. You could even make it something you do together.

Finding your local clinic is easy. Websites such as www.tht.org.uk allow you to find clinics nationwide and www.gmfa.org.uk/clinics has a comprehensive list of clinics across London.

Some clinics have walk-in services, while at others you may have to book and schedule an appointment, so it’s best to check for up-to-date information on the clinic’s website before you attend. Just find the one nearest or most convenient for you.

3. Test for us

By having an HIV test you aren’t just looking after you or your partner, you are looking after everyone.

You are helping your community reduce the rates of HIV. Knowing your own status by testing regularly and rallying your friends to do the same means that you can work towards reducing the rates of HIV in the community.

You don’t even have to go to a clinic to test - you can do a self-test at home. They are simple to use, painless, confidential and they can eliminate the inconvenience of going to a clinic. You can order your own HIV self testing kit online at www.test.hiv.

And what if it the results come back positive? Don’t panic. People who are diagnosed early can start effective treatment, and live long, healthy lives.

What if you know someone who has been diagnosed as HIV-positive? It doesn’t change who they are. Support them. Listen. Don’t stigmatise. As stated before, those on effective treatment who become HIV-undetectable can’t pass on HIV. They aren’t just taking their medication for themselves, they are taking it for you. They don’t want you to get HIV.

So, there are three very good reasons why testing for HIV is better for us all. It’s all about me, him and us.

Find out more about Me. Him. Us. at www.mehimus.org.uk