World AIDS Day: get examined, get handled

Photo of a person wearing a white jacket with the HIV awareness red ribbon

World AIDS Day (1 December) supplies a chance to recollect those that have died from an AIDS-related sickness and present assist for these residing with HIV.

The most recent information in England

The latest data reveals that while new HIV diagnoses in England fell by practically a 3rd between 2019 and 2021 and transmission of the virus continued to say no amongst homosexual, bisexual and different males who’ve intercourse with males (GBMSM), the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed progress in direction of HIV elimination – particularly in heterosexual adults.

In 2021, there have been an estimated 4,400 folks unaware of their HIV an infection, which is round 5% of all folks estimated to be residing with HIV in England (95,900). An estimated 1,500 GBMSM have been residing with an undiagnosed HIV an infection in contrast with 1,100 heterosexual males and 1,500 heterosexual ladies.

HIV prevention hinges on lowering the variety of folks with a transmissible HIV an infection by means of testing, which in flip will cut back the variety of undiagnosed people.

Homosexual, bisexual and males with have intercourse with males ought to have an HIV check and STI display a minimum of yearly, or each three months if they’re having intercourse with out condoms with new or informal companions. Black African women and men are suggested to have an HIV check, and a STI display often, if they’re having intercourse with out condoms with new or informal companions.

Realizing your standing

Getting examined is the one strategy to know in case you have HIV, and that information is important so you may get the appropriate assist and remedy on your personal well being, in addition to shield well being in native communities.

In England, HIV and wider STI testing is free, confidential, and extra handy than ever, together with on-line self-sampling providers. This implies you may take samples within the consolation and privateness of your personal residence after which ship the package away to get your outcomes. You can too discover a native sexual well being service on the NHS website by way of their sexual well being service locator.

Homosexual, bisexual and males who’ve intercourse with males (GBMSM) and black African women and men are disproportionately prone to buying HIV, which is why understanding your standing is among the strongest instruments you may have on your personal well being, and to assist in the struggle ending HIV.

The significance of PrEP

It’s essential for these eligible to take up the provide of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) in case you are in danger from HIV (for instance having intercourse with new or informal companions). PrEP is a small pill that with constant use can cease somebody from getting HIV throughout intercourse with out condoms.

In 2021, 61,092 folks began or continued taking PrEP however inequalities in entry nonetheless exist – London residents, GBMSM and other people over 35 usually tend to have a necessity for PrEP recognized, which leaves these exterior of London and youthful age teams trailing behind the capital.

Whereas extremely efficient at stopping HIV, PrEP received’t shield you towards different STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhoea and received’t forestall being pregnant.

Getting assist

If you’re HIV optimistic, beginning remedy early means you may dwell a full and wholesome life and keep away from passing on HIV to others.

In 2021, an estimated 11,985 folks residing with HIV had transmissible ranges of the virus. Solely 37% of those have been undiagnosed, the rest weren’t in care, not on remedy or had not but achieved undetectable standing. You could have heard the phrase U=U (Undetectable=Untransmissable) used, the place HIV ranges are extraordinarily low within the blood menaing you’re undetectable or virally suppressed and at this stage, you may’t cross on HIV throughout intercourse.

Participating with HIV providers and attending appointments will assist be certain that you’re on efficient remedy – protecting you wholesome and protecting detectable ranges of HIV in your blood undetectable.

While PrEP or an undetectable HIV standing has revolutionised intercourse lives for these in danger from HIV or residing with HIV, it is also essential to recollect different protected intercourse practices, like utilizing condoms, cease different STIs from spreading.

Extra data on HIV

You could find out extra about HIV, testing and remedy on the NHS website. Charities such because the Terrence Higgins Trust even have a variety of assets and data on HIV and different sexual well being points.

Extra data on STI testing

Learn our weblog on using a self-sampling STI kit.

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