HIV testing

Why is Testing Important?

It is important to get tested regularly for HIV if you are sexually active and when you change sexual partners. HIV often has no symptoms. Testing is the only way to be sure of your HIV status.

Getting tested for HIV means that, if you are infected with the virus, you can receive HIV treatment and care before the infection damages your health. It also means you will reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to your partner.

Getting an HIV test

Getting tested for HIV is quick, easy and confidential.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary new arrangements are in place to access sexual health services.

You can still test for HIV and other STIs at home.

 

Register now at www.doitlondon.shl.uk

  1. Answer some quick questions so we know what tests to send you
  2. We will post you a free test kit in plain packaging, with clear instructions how to test yourself
  3. You return your samples (free postage) and results are ready online 3-5 days later
  4. If you need treatment or further tests, a health adviser will provide telephone support
  5. Treatment for some STIs can be posted to your home. For others you will be advised how to access further care in clinic.

This service is for people living in Greater London. Use these alternatives if you live in Croydon, Greenwich or Hillingdon

 

Sexual health clinics have reduced access – always telephone before attending in person

Other options for HIV testing include:

 

STAY HOME > PROTECT THE NHS > SAVE LIVES

Links provided are to trusted and partner-assured sites providing self-test kits

Find an HIV test centre near you

Order a HIV self-testing kit

Find a sexual health clinic near you

Order a free HIV self-sampling kit

If you are at risk for HIV infection you should have an HIV test.

If you are at high HIV risk you should have repeat HIV tests regularly – ideally every three months.

If you are infected with HIV, testing regularly will mean you are diagnosed early. This enables you to access the highly effective treatment and care you will need to protect your health and avoid passing the virus on to your sexual partners.

Taking an HIV test is the only way to find out if you are HIV negative or HIV positive.

If you are HIV positive, early diagnosis will mean that your treatment will have better outcomes, and the risk of onward transmission to other people will be extremely low.

Get tested regularly for HIV if you are one of those most-at-risk:

  1. Men who have sex with men (gay or bisexual men) are advised to have an HIV test and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) screen at least annually, and every three months if having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.
  2. Black-African men and women are advised to have an HIV test, and a regular HIV test and STI screen, if having condomless sex with new or casual partners.

Alongside testing, condoms will protect you from many other STIs, until all partners have received their results. PrEP is another very effective method of protecting you against HIV, though it does not protect against STIs. Find out more about PrEP.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary new arrangements are in place to access sexual health services across London, including testing.

You can test for HIV and other STIs at home by registering at www.doitlondon.shl.uk

 

All you need to do is:

  1. Answer some quick questions so we know what tests to send you
  2. We will post you a free test kit in plain packaging, with clear instructions how to test yourself
  3. You return your samples (free postage) and results are ready online 3-5 days later
  4. If you need treatment or further tests, a health adviser will provide telephone support
  5. Treatment for some STIs can be posted to your home. For others you will be advised how to access further care in clinic.

This service is for people living in Greater London. Use these alternatives if you live in Croydon, Greenwich or Hillingdon

Testing for HIV (and other STIs) is free at your GP, at a sexual health clinic or from an outreach service.

Even if you are an international student, a short-term visitor, a migrant from abroad, or an asylum seeker – no matter what your residency status – having an HIV test is free and confidential. Self-testing (where you test yourself and see the result straight away) generally involves a fee of around £30, but some boroughs and charities are making this available for free to certain groups, for example Fastest at Home.

HIV self-test kits available to purchase in the UK must meet a number of requirements related to test performance, labelling and instructions for use. All tests that meet these required standards will be given a CE mark. This means that when used as intended, CE marked self-test kits will work properly and be acceptably safe. So you should check for the CE mark:

CE mark example
You should consult your GP or visit a sexual health service if your concerns or symptoms persist, or if you have any worries about your health.

If you have condomless sex then you may also be at risk of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis B and C. Some of these infections have no symptoms, so regular screening is recommended. You can do this at a sexual health clinic  or -in some boroughs- by ordering a home STI screening pack from SHL – London’s new sexual health e-service.

You can reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs by:

a. Using a condom correctly and consistently – and until all partners have received a negative STI and HIV screen.

b. Reducing your number of sexual partners and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships.

c. Having an HIV test. Early HIV diagnosis improves your health as you receive NHS treatment and care.

d. Using Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

e. If diagnosed with HIV, follow the instructions of your doctor to achieve undetectable status. An undetectable viral load (UVL) makes it very unlikely that HIV can be passed on to your partner.

These services will offer you advice on how to reduce your chances of contracting HIV and help avoid risks in the future.

Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, our venue-based outreach & HIV testing services are temporarily suspended.

In the meantime, if you would like a free Do It London Condom pack delivered to your home address please click here.  If you would like a free self-sampling STI (including HIV) testing kit sent to your home address please click here.

Thanks for your understanding.

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