Saving Lives promotes the importance of HIV testing in fighting the virus. This year they are sending a simple message: stigma kills, and testing saves lives.
“You may not want to get tested because you’re scared of what you might hear,” Darren says. “But it’s not just for your own safety – it’s for everyone else.”
Twenty per cent of the 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK do not know they are living with the virus. Early diagnosis is extremely important if they are to benefit from the best health outcomes.
“Today’s medicines mean that a person can live a full and long life with HIV,” says Dr Steve Taylor, Saving Lives’ Medical Director and a lead consultant in HIV at Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital. “But early diagnosis is key – and that’s why this year we’re stressing that getting tested is crucial.”
Saving Lives are using their website, www.takeatestuk.com, to offer free home testing kits tests until December 1s. The discreet kits arrive in plain packaging at whatever address a person prefers – and their samples are reviewed by Public Health England. Results are received in days, and NHS advisors are on hand to help.
“Saving Lives is promoting awareness so that you don’t hear the silly myths like how taking a test might damage your insurance claims,” says Darren. “That’s all ridiculous. Get tested: you can be treated and live a long and happy life.”
People who wish to get their free home HIV testing kit can log on to www.takeatestuk.com and enter the code SAVE16 when ordering.