HIV testing

Who should test?

We encourage all sexually active people to think about HIV testing. If however you think you might be at high risk, you should definitely attend your local clinic for testing. The earlier HIV is detected, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful and the easier it is to prevent passing the infection to someone else

Anyone who has had unprotected sex may be at risk of HIV. However, men who have sex with men and people from certain parts of the world are more at risk. HIV can also be passed on by sharing needles or from an untreated HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Most people do not realise they have caught HIV because symptoms are mild or absent.

The test

The test for HIV is a simple blood test. With our current tests you can get an accurate HIV test result 4 weeks after a sexual encounter; in some situations, we may recommend repeating this at 3 months to be 100% sure. We offer all patients HIV testing in our sexual health clinics (see examinations).

What if I test positive?

If you test positive for HIV, the good news is that we have treatments which can help keep you well and which mean that most people carrying the virus can live a long and healthy life.