Did you know that you can live with HIV for a long time without realising that you have? That’s why health professionals urge those who are sexually active to test for HIV at least once a year.

HIV testing week runs from the 5th - 11th February and is the ideal time to get a test.  HIV tests are free and it is important because if you have the virus you can start effective treatment to maintain good health, and avoid passing the virus on. 

Treatments can reduce your viral load so that you are no longer able to pass the virus on.

Professor Matt Phillips Consultant in Sexual health at North Cumbria Integrated Health NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC)  explains: Prof Matt Phillips.jpg

“The sooner someone with HIV starts treatment, the better it is for their health. People on treatment usually get to an undetectable viral load, which means there's no more risk of transmission. Treatment is free to everyone in the UK and you can order online or you can pop to any sexual health clinic. Some pharmacies in Cumbria also offer HIV testing - call before you go.  Our clinics are open to everyone, regardless of gender or age and you do not need to have any STI symptoms to come to see us. We now have the tools to stop HIV. Through testing and treatment we could be the generation that stops new HIV infections.”

If you’re under 16, the service is still confidential, unless we’re worried about your safety or the safety of someone else. Your GP will not be told about your visit unless you give us permission.

To book an appointment at one of Cumbria’s sexual health clinics call the central phone line on 01228 608989 or there is an online booking form on the NCIC public webpage. https://www.ncic.nhs.uk/services/sexual-health

Professor Phillips added:

“Testing at least once a year for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is good sexual health practice for everyone who is sexually active, even if you think there is no risk of infection. Depending on how many different sexual partners someone has in one year, testing more regularly should be considered.”

Cumbria Sexual Health Services will be at Workington Leisure Centre on the 8th Feb 2024, 10am - 2pm offering sexual health screening including HIV tests, please pop and see the team!

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