It has never been easier to get tested for HIV in Milton Keynes and getting diagnosed early can make a huge difference.
There are now many different ways to get a free HIV test.
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.
Milton Keynes residents can also get testing kits that they can 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 will not know that they have HIV, as you can live with the virus for many years without any symptoms, also meaning 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.
Cass Knight, public health principal, who is spearheading HIV testing in Milton Keynes, stresses that early detection is vital.
She said: “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.
“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.”
Milton Keynes is an area of high prevalence for HIV (proportion of people with the virus) and 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).
For more advice and help on HIV visit: www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/sexual-health