Reduce your risk
If you are concerned about HIV you should be tested as soon as possible. During HIV Testing week there will be a number of testing venues as well as regular clinics where you can have a test.
Ways to reduce your risk of HIV include:
Use a condom: Protect yourself from HIV and other STIs by using a condom. This barrier method prevents contact with semen, vaginal secretions and blood which will stop HIV from being passed on. Condoms should only be used with a water-based lubricant as oil-based lube weakens them.
Regular testing: Testing a regular for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is recommended for anyone who is sexual active – especially if you are having unprotected sex. If you don’t think you have put yourself at risk of the HIV, remember that signs of the HIV infection don’t show up in the blood right away and it can take up to 4 weeks or even longer. You can get a test in person at a sexual health clinic or your GP, or order tests online, with free and paid-for options.
PrEP: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a drug taken by HIV-negative people before sex that reduces the risk of getting HIV. It works by blocking HIV before it gets into the body and has the chance to infect you. Find out more information about this drug and where to get it on the Terrence Higgins Trust website.
PEP: Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a combination of HIV drugs that can stop the infection after the virus enters a person’s body. This treatment must be taken within 72 hours of HIV exposure but isn’t guaranteed to work. If you need PEP over the weekend or outside of clinic times then please go to your nearest A&E. Learn more about PEP here.
Safe needles: Sharing needles, syringes and other equipment for injecting drugs is a way someone’s HIV infected blood can get into your body. Avoid this risk by seeking support from your local drugs and alcohol service and ask for their needle exchange.