Milton Keynes residents urged to check their HIV status

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Milton Keynes is an area of high prevalence for HIV, but getting tested for HIV in Milton Keynes is getting easier, and early diagnosed can make a huge difference.

Tests are available at any sexual health service in Milton Keynes and many family doctors can offer tests to patients which give a negative or reactive result straight away. MK residents can also get testing kits for use at home, by ordering at www.test.hiv.

This means people who want to check their HIV status but don’t want to go to a clinic, can still be tested.

Testing for HIV and knowing the result is really important. Some people won’t know that they have HIV, as you can live with the virus for many years without any symptoms. This means that they might unknowingly pass the virus to other people.

Knowing that someone has HIV soon after infection means that treatment can start earlier and makes a huge difference in how effective the treatment is in keeping them well.

Early detection is vital says Cass Knight, public health principal, who is spearheading the drive for testing in the area: “Although there remains no cure, life expectancy for people diagnosed with HIV has increased following the introduction of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy in the mid 1990s,” she said.

“But it is very much the case, as with many other conditions, the earlier HIV is diagnosed, the earlier you can start treatment and avoid becoming ill and also reduce onward transmission.”

Testing is one part of a programme of work to reduce infection and to improve the lives of people with HIV. The number of people who agreed to be tested more than doubled from June 2014 (291) to April 2015 (659).

Getting tested for HIV in Milton Keynes has never been easier. It’s really important to know your HIV status to get treatment at the right time and to protect others that you might pass the virus onto.

Further advice and help on HIV is available online via http://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/sexual-health