Health Protection Agency has given two years of funding to the Terrence Higgins Trust to deliver the ‘It Starts With Me’ HIV Campaign. This campaign focuses on three aspects: Test, Treat and Protect.
Did you know that 8 out of 10 gay men get HIV from a man that doesn’t know that he’s got it? Or that 100,000 people in the UK have HIV but don’t know it? If these aren’t good enough reasons to encourage you to get a HIV test here are some more: regular testing gives you piece of mind, it’s free, confidential and convenient.
You can arrange an appointment at your local sexual health clinic or even do a test through a postal kit. Jake, our Editor, recently reviewed the home testing kit. ‘It Starts With Me’ campaign even has a ‘Do I need an HIV test?’ Questionnaire, answer five quick and easy questions to establish if you need a HIV test. Earlier testing helps get quicker access to treatment for those that are HIV positive.
A better understanding of HIV has led to treatment that gives a HIV positive person a feeling of better health and a longer life. According to ‘It Starts With Me,’ earlier treatment can extend your life expectancy by about 10 years; equally delaying testing and starting treatment can cost you 10 years of your life.
The Campaign video (below) says that treatment stop the spread of HIV by reducing amount of HIV in a HIV positive person’s blood stream to an ‘undectable level’ meaning that they are unlikely to pass on HIV. Watch the video here:
The Department for Health, Terrence Higgins Trust and all other sexual health organisations recommend the use of condoms when having sex. Condoms are the best way to Protect against HIV, especially when 8 out of 10 gay men get HIV from a man who doesn’t know that he’s got it.
Gay men 25-29 years old are most likely to test HIV positive, but HIV doesn’t discriminate on age, gender, race, sexuality or for any other reason. If you’re worried about HIV you can speak to your GP, local sexual health clinic, or call Terrence Higgins Trust on 0808 802 1221. If you’ve got a sexual health question, visit TheGayUK sexual health section:http://www.mysexhealth.thegayuk.com
If you’ve recently been diagnosed HIV positive, the forums on: http://www.myhiv.org.uk are said to be helpful along with Terrence Higgins Trust Website.
There are also several bloggers who share their experience living with HIV; here are just a few of them:
Alex: HIV & Me
HIVing The Dream
Remember to get tested regularly, if you’re HIV positive to get treatment and always protect yourself using condoms when having sex. Together we can and will stop the spread of HIV.