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HIV home testing – it’s not as scary as it sounds

Published: 23rd November 2017 20:06

The whole subject of being HIV positive has changed enormously over the past 30 years.  

The whole subject of being HIV positive has changed enormously over the past 30 years. Anyone over the age of 40 will remember only too clearly the downright panic of the 1980s, fuelled by a frenzied but ill-informed media and some high profile casualties such as Freddie Mercury, Rock Hudson and Anthony Perkins. 


Today, things are different. We are better informed, the medical advances have been truly astonishing, and HIV is a condition that can be managed and controlled. 


The issue that still remains as pertinent as ever, however, is diagnosis. With any medical condition, it is a statement of the obvious to say that the first step has to be diagnosis before you can do anything else. Unfortunately, with HIV, this is both more problematic and more vital than with other conditions such as, for example diabetes or high blood pressure. 


Problems with getting tested for HIV 


Don’t misunderstand, taking an HIV test is not complex or difficult. Whether it is done in a clinic or you do a home HIV test, it takes a matter of minutes, and requires just a small sample of blood or saliva.  


There are two factors that make it problematic. The first is that there are usually very few outward symptoms when you initially contract HIV. The second is that despite us living in the enlightened 21st century, some people still feel that there is some sort of stigma attached to being HIV positive. 


These two difficulties combine to mean you are far less likely to have an HIV test as a matter of course in the way that you might test, for example, your cholesterol level or your blood sugar.  


Importance of HIV testing 


At the same time, diagnosis is absolutely vital. For some conditions, it might not matter so much if you are only diagnosed when the condition starts to manifest outward symptoms. The tragedy with HIV is that if you leave it till then, it is often too late to treat it effectively.  


There is also the factor of the way that HIV can be contracted, meaning that you need to know whether you have the condition in order to minimise the risk of giving it to others.  


Home testing is easy and effective 


Home tests first became available in 2014, and these days there is a wider choice than there has ever been. The tests go through a rigorous checking and approval process, and as long as you choose one that bears the CE Certification mark, you can be confident that it will be as accurate as a test carried out in a clinic or hospital. 


Most tests require just a few drops of blood from your finger, and they provide a special lancet in order to get the sample safely, hygienically and almost painlessly. They provide full instructions on what you need to do, as well as guidance on the next steps you need to take if the test gives a positive result. There really is no downside, so why not check yourself out today? 



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