• It's HIV test week

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    Friday13 [sign in to see picture]
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    It's National HIV Testing Week http://www.tht.org.uk/our-charity/Our-work/What-we-do/National-HIV-testing-week

    The aim is to increase testing in key populations (men who have sex with men and African people) but I think it's a good reminder to everyone.

    If you'd like to get tested but aren't sure where to go, check out the service finder on the Terrence Higgins Trust website: http://www.tht.org.uk/our-charity/Get-help-now/Service-finder It lists both THT and non-THT services, such as sexual health clinics.

    So who should be getting tested?

    HIV testing should be routinely offered and recommended to the following patients:

    -all patients presenting for healthcare where HIV, including primary HIV infection, enters the differential diagnosis (see table of indicator diseases and section on primary HIV infection)

    -all patients diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection

    -all sexual partners of men and women known to be HIV positive

    -all men who have disclosed sexual contact with other men

    -all female sexual contacts of men who have sex with men

    -all patients reporting a history of injecting drug use

    -all men and women known to be from a country of high HIV prevalence (>1%*)

    -all men and women who report sexual contact abroad or in the UK with individuals from

    countries of high HIV prevalence.* * for an up to date list see

    1. http://www.unaids.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/HIVData/Epidemiology/latestEpiData.asp

    Information from: http://www.bhiva.org/documents/guidelines/testing/glineshivtest08.pdf

    Obviously use your discretion. If you have a partner who is a man who has sex with men but you are monogamous and both got tested prior to sleeping together, you don't need to test. 

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    Fun Louise [sign in to see picture]
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    Great info Friday13.

    I myself have had a HIV test, not because I fall into any of the categories but because I was suspected of having Lynphoma, and it's standard practice for many people who are diagnosed with haematological disorders.

    I think there is too much stigma attached to the test, and it should be promoted more.

    So if you find yourself in any of the categories please get the test, it will not hurt its a basic blood test, and it might help you and your future sexual partners.

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    jimbogemini [sign in to see picture]
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    Useful info Friday13. Didn't know this.

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    Friday13 [sign in to see picture]
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    Glad you found it useful, jimbogemini :)

    Fun Louise: I also had a HIV test when I had some weird symptoms (mainly chronically enlarged lymph nodes in my neck). I've also had many more because I wasn't always the most careful of people.

    Most of the tests these days are finger prick tests that give you results in minutes. Depending on which test the clinic uses, the window period (the time it takes for HIV to be detected after unprotected sex) is between four weeks and three months, so bear that in mind if you are worried about a specific encounter.

    Even if you don't fall into one of the above categories, you can still have a HIV test.

    You can also get a postal testing kit for free if your live in England from: https://hivtest.drthom.com

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    Lovethekink [sign in to see picture]
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    I had mine when I was pregnant with my little boy, also with my eldest. Prior to that I had them yearly at the local gum clinic as a precaution.

    I do think it's good they offer these in pregnancy as it's still not common place for people to go and have hiv tests done, in a way I guess it probably feels easier for some people to have it that way as they don't have to consciously go somewhere to get it done. Unfortunately there still seems to be a stigma about being tested for things.

    1448218922

    [suspended user]

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    Fab post Friday 13! I've had the test previously and again last week because I was offered it, don't fall into any of the groups but always think it's better to be safe than sorry

    1448219617
    Friday13 [sign in to see picture]
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    ^ I was just reading about HIV tests in pregnancy yesterday. Lots of people refuse them so the guidelines give three points when medical professionals are meant to offer them. I find it so concerning that fear could potentially mean people aren't having a simple test that could be vitally important to the health of their child. People are scared about the result, I get that, but HIV isn't the death sentence it once was. There are great treatments available and people tend to do well if they are diagnosed early. Sticking your head in the sand is what leads to poor outcomes.

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    Friday13 [sign in to see picture]
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    ^That was in response to Jessicaleon11

    Usedworkshoes: Definitely and it's so easy, why not take the test? Those are just the guidelines for people at higher risk but other people can and do contract HIV so it makes sense to test from time to time, even if you aren't at increased risk.

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    Laveila [sign in to see picture]
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    Tbh I would say that everyone should get tested, ideally when starting a new relationship. You never know who was the partner of your partner before you. While the person was not unfaithful, the problem is that their partner could have been.

    So I always go for check when entering a relationship. Or if I dont plan to enter one, then I just go for the ease of my mind, to be sure. And considering at least in my country the numbers of infected are growing, so I do think propagation of the testing is good!

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    Fun Louise [sign in to see picture]
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    Friday 13 were your lymph node swellings anything seriouse? Mine turned out to be a rare condition called castlemans disease, only found out after surgery. But I was pleased it wasn't lynphoma, working on a cancer ward I knew too much!

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    Vanessa8 [sign in to see picture]
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    I was tested when I was pregnant, it was not optional from the practice who cared for me. They have to know to properly care for mom and baby.

    Thank you for posting this. Best to be knowledgeable and take charge of your health everyone.

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    Boogaloo [sign in to see picture]
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    Thanks for the info :) I also got tested a couple of months ago when I had my first lot of antenatal blood tests done and came back clean, prior to that I got tested at the GUM clinic just as a precaution. Obviously it's unnerving being tested (even when you're 99% sure you don't have it), but I still think it's something that everyone should do, to protect others as well as themselves. :)

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    Boogaloo [sign in to see picture]
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    ^^ by that I mean so there's less risk of passing it on to a partner unknowingly, I'm not sure if it came across wrong!

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    Friday13 [sign in to see picture]
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    Laveila wrote:

    Tbh I would say that everyone should get tested, ideally when starting a new relationship. You never know who was the partner of your partner before you. While the person was not unfaithful, the problem is that their partner could have been.

    Exactly

    Fun Louise: We never found out what caused it but eventually they went down. I still find that if I get an infection, they get very large and take a long time to go down even after I'm well and they always seem a little large. Guess it's just a quirk.

    Vanessa8: While I'm glad the practice takes HIV testing seriously, every test you have is optional and if they were telling you it was mandatory, they were in the wrong (there are only a few situations where you could be tested and treated against your will, generally relating to capacity or severe mental illness).

    Boogaloo: Definitely. I've always said if I want to take risks, that's up to me, but if I'm putting others at risk, I'm not ok with that.

    I'm so happy to see so many people routinely getting tested at GUM clinics! When I first started getting tested it was pretty much only offered to people at high risk. While obviously those people need to be a priority, I'm glad it is now becoming more routine and the stigma of testing seems to be reducing

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    VR [sign in to see picture]
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    I'm a regular at the local GUM clinic as I see the psycho-sexual counsellor for some issues I have. I'm really upset to see they're cutting services left, right and centre.

    It's such an important service and it's really good to see people taking their sexual health into their own hands. It's particularly great to see all ages sitting in the waiting room to use this service (from an empowerment point of view, not that they may have a serious health issue, obviosly).

    The two counsellors I've seen there have been head and shoulders above the CPNs I'd seen previously for CBT. They actually help, unlike one CPN I had that sprayed air-freshener in the room after I'd told her I was allergic. Oh, and she also gave me a book prescription - no other help.

    I even wish I could swap from my regular GP to one of the doctors I see there. She (and others I've seen there), have been amazing and so down to earth. I love reading the posters as well. There are some corkers there that get a point across in a fun way that I see young and old smile at.

    I hope they keep the services going - but we need to keep using them, too.

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