If you’ve not been hooking up with other guys during the COVID-19 lockdown and have had no sex with other people since March, now could be the perfect time to get yourself tested for HIV, says, HIV expert Matthew Hodson.
Taking to social media, Matthew, who is the Executive Director of AIDSMAP, told his followers, that if they hadn’t had sex for five weeks or more, that they could be confident that an HIV test result would be highly accurate, adding that the lockdown has created an opportunity to “root out undiagnosed HIV”.
Many people have adhered to Government guidelines about self-isolating.
In a current poll (it is live and subject to change) we asked our readers whether they had abstained from sex with people outside their own homes. The vast majority of people (around 66 per cent) who answered said that they had.
Only around five per cent said that their behaviour had not changed since the beginning of lockdown at the end of March.
New HIV Infections to sink faster than before and an opportunity to end HIV altogether
Speaking in a video, Matthew said, “lockdown means far fewer people are having sex, meaning that far fewer people will have just acquired HIV. This is crucial because people are at their most infectious when they’ve just got.
He went on to say that they were “already anticipating that the number of new infections will go down even faster than before”.
He added that we have the “opportunity to end new HIV infections altogether”
The idea is if everyone tests now and receives their HIV status by the time lockdown ends, that anyone who has newly acquired HIV can be on treatment. When people are “virtual suppressed” (UEqualsU) HIV cannot be passed on to anyone else.
Need an at-home HIV test?
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Sexual Health is still open
Although it may seem that many health services might be running at a reduced capacity or you’re unable to physically attend NHS services, but Doctor Naomi Sutton took to social media recently to remind us all that you can still get sexual health advice and, if necessary, access medications and testing if you need them.
“The #NHS is still open! Please seek medical advice if you need it.
“Sexual health services are operating phone consultations, posting contraception, screening tests and medication when needed and seeing patients face to face where necessary”