Health Sex and sexual health HIV Why should I get tested for HIV? Don’t let fear keep you from getting tested. LGBTQ+ people face inequality when it comes to sex and sexual health. For instance, gay, bisexual and trans men, along with bisexual and trans women are at a higher risk of picking up an STI or becoming HIV-positive. Here at OutLife we want you to have the best sex with the least amount of risk and testing for HIV is a big part of that healthy sex life. Here’s some reasons why you should get tested for HIV. It’s better to know Testing is a win-win. If you test for HIV and the result comes back negative, then you’ve won piece of mind. If it comes back positive, then you’re empowered with the necessary information to care for your health. The anxiety we feel around an HIV diagnosis and the reality are wildly different. People living with the virus can (and do!) live long, healthy lives. They live, love, and thrive. If they’re on effective treatment it’s even impossible for them to pass on the virus. Don’t let unjustified fear keep you from getting tested. It’s easier than ever You can now be tested for HIV in less time than it takes to make a cup of strong tea. The 1-minute pinprick test only requires a drop of your blood; it’s almost painless, fast, and is extremely reliable. Tonnes of sexual health clinics have offered the test for years, allowing you to skip the process of having bloods taken and waiting several days for the results. You don’t even need to leave the house That’s right, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home to test for HIV. Home testing kits allow you to take samples and post them directly to the lab. They’re an extra convenient way to test for people who don’t live near a clinic or don’t have the time to spare for an appointment. The kits are super simple and easy to use, with clear instructions on how you should gather samples. Results can then be delivered to you digitally should you chose. Not every part of the country offers free home testing, but they’re quite inexpensive you’re willing to pay for one. It’s a great excuse for an MOT Depending on your sexual preference and level of sexual activity, it could be recommended that you test for STIs every three months to twelve months. If you’re thinking of having an HIV test, and haven’t been checked for other conditions like gonorrhoea or chlamydia for a while, you can get them all done together! Heading to the clinic is also a great opportunity to ask for an HPV vaccine and check your immunity to hepatitis b. For your sexual partners Whether you’re sleeping with one person right now, or you’re having sex with multiple people, getting tested keeps them safe as well. Knowing your status allows you to prevent passing on the virus, and let other people know if they need to get tested as well. Early treatment is always best It bears repeating that it’s always best to know about a positive status as soon as possible. The faster you know, the less damage the virus can do, and the better your health going forward. Early diagnosis and treatment is one of the biggest reasons that people living with HIV are now having healthy, long lives. According to research, a 20 year-old person living with HIV, starting treatment on a modern treatment regimen, can now expect to live to 78, and that number is only going to go up. Together, we can end HIV transmission The more people get tested, the more people who have the virus can start treatment. The more people on treatment, the more people will become HIV-undetectable and therefore be unable to pass on the virus. By testing, you’re helping realise a vision of a world where there are no more HIV transmissions. What Next? You can order a home STI kit from SH:24. Depending on your location you may be eligible for a free kit. If you have any questions about HIV and your sexual health you can call THT Direct for free on 0808 802 1221. You can find more information and advice about HIV and your sexual health at Terrence Higgins Trust.