Although HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) no longer strikes fear like it did back when Princess Diana opened the UK’s first specialist HIV/AIDS in 19871, it is however an epidemic.2 And if not treated, HIV can progress into the more serious disease AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
HIV, which can pass between people, is a virus that damages the immune system and weakens the ability for the body to fight infections and disease. AIDS, which is not transmissible, is a term to describe several potentially life-threatening infections and illnesses that occur following damage caused by the HIV virus.
The Risk of HIV To You And Others
Globally, approximately 38 million people live with HIV2. Although, there is currently no cure for HIV, HIV is a treatable condition.3 The medicines used to treat HIV are known as Antiretroviral treatments and prevent the virus from replicating within the body, preventing any further damage, and giving the immune system an opportunity to repair. But of course, until you know if you have HIV then you can’t receive treatment or help prevent HIV causing AIDS.
Once infected, approximately 80% of people will develop flu like symptoms, approximately 2- 6 weeks after infection. These symptoms generally persist for two weeks. After this, the symptoms disappear, and it is possible to not experience any other symptoms for many years. As a result, many people with HIV don’t realise they are infected or are in a position to infect others. Also, even in the absence of symptoms the virus continues to damage the immune system.
The virus is transmitted via body fluids of an infected person. This includes blood, semen, vaginal and anal fluids, and breast milk.
If You’re At Risk, Discreet Home Testing Is Possible
If you’re at risk of passing on HIV or indeed contracting HIV, then testing after potential exposure to HIV can help to rule-in or rule-out infection. As mentioned earlier, symptoms can come and go, so it is important to test.
Gone are the days where you must go to a sexual health clinic or visit the doctor. There is a HIV self-testing option called the OraQuick® HIV Self-Test. The MHRA approved test, which has a 100% sensitivity and 98.8% specificity, produces results in the home from a painless mouth swab, no blood sampling is required.
Science and innovation have brought tests like the OraQuick® HIV Self-Test into existence to help people get answers they need discreetly at their convenience. People should not be put off from testing for HIV.
The OraQuick® HIV Self-Test epitomises our strapline of ‘Test. Know. Act.’ There are still barriers to the uptake of HIV testing and people are fearful of attending clinics due to time pressures, appointment delays and concerns over confidentiality. And unfortunately, there is still a perceived stigma surrounding HIV. But, with easy HIV home self-testing, people can can get answers, quickly and privately. If the test is positive, then people are empowered to seek medical advice with vital information, hopefully speeding up access to any necessary treatment.
Apply the code ‘Welcome10’ at checkout to get a 10% discount off your first order with us.