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Birmingham LGBT is supporting National HIV Testing Week 2017.
Regular testing and knowing your HIV status is a key part of reducing HIV rates overall and looking after you own health as well as the health of your sexual partners.
With our #PRICKTESTRESULT campaign we want to show just how quick and simple it is to get tested for HIV.
We can offer accurate HIV tests with results given in just 60 seconds, and you can have one of these tests at the Birmingham LGBT centre 7 days a week.
Our sexual health services are open 7 days a week from 8am-9pm Monday to Friday and 11.30am to 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
All of our testing options are available on a walk-in basis.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that attacks and weakens the immune system. If it is left untreated, HIV causes so much damage that the body is no longer able to defend itself.
HIV is most commonly passed on by having sex without using a condom. Often by having condomless sex with someone who doesn’t know they have HIV.
People who have been infected with HIV are generally referred to as being HIV positive, and although there have been many advances in treatment in recent years, and treatments are very effective in controlling the advancement of HIV and keeping people with HIV healthy, there is still no cure for HIV infection.
There are ways to prevent HIV infection, but as with many health conditions and illnesses, the sooner after infection someone is diagnosed the better their outlook. This is why we encourage people to get tested regularly.
Testing is simple, quick and easy and of course completely confidential.
Find out more about HIV here.
The whole process of Rapid HIV Testing is quick and simple and can be done in a few easy steps:
PRICK TEST RESULT!
You can get tested for HIV and other STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) for FREE with an Umbrella STI testing kit.
All kits allow testing for:
Call the LGBT Sexual Health Team on 0121 643 0821 for more info.
Or order a FREE home testing kit here.
U=U: Undetectable equals Untransmittable
HIV and people living with a HIV diagnosis are often stigmatised or feared, and there are still many myths and misconceptions about HIV infection.
The truth is that people living with HIV who have access to treatment or Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) are able to live long healthy lives, and successful treatment means that the HIV virus can be controlled and suppressed to undetectable levels, meaning that they are unable to pass on HIV to sexual partners. This is now being referred to as U=U (Undetectable equals Untransmittable).
People living with HIV who are being successfully treated with ART who have an undetectable viral load in their blood have a negligible risk of sexual transmission of HIV.
It may take up to six months for the viral load of someone living with HIV to become undetectable (depending on type of medications used). It requires proper adherence to ART to stay that way.
BHIVA (British HIV Association) endorses this statement. View this here.
It is our hope that this knowledge will help to end stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV.
NB: An undetectable HIV viral load only prevents HIV transmission to sexual partners. Condoms also help prevent HIV transmission as well as other STIs and pregnancy. The choice of HIV prevention method may be different depending upon a person’s sexual practices, circumstances and relationships. For instance, if someone is having sex with multiple partners or in a non-monogamous relationship, they might consider using condoms to prevent other STIs.
When used correctly for anal, vaginal or oral sex, condoms are very effective at preventing STI’s including HIV.
Some useful tips for using condoms are below.
You can pick up free male and female condoms, dams and lube at the Birmingham LGBT centre or you can order free condoms by post if you live in Birmingham or Solihull here.
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.
PrEP is a way for people who don’t have HIV, but who are at high risk of getting it, to prevent HIV infection. This is by taking a pill containing two medicines, that are also used to treat HIV, every day at periods of high risk. If you take PrEP and are exposed to HIV through sex, these medicines can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body.
PrEP can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone.
If you are taking or thinking of taking PrEP you can find out more detailed information here.
PEPSE stands for (Post Exposure Prophylaxis after Sexual Exposure) is a type of medication that can be taken up to 72 hours after exposure to HIV to stop you becoming infected.
If you’ve had sex without a condom, or if the condom broke during sex, you may be able to use PEPSE.
It is vital that this medication is given within 72 hours of the potential exposure to the virus as the medication is not effective after this time. The earlier PEPSE can be given the better. If you’ve had sex with somebody who you think may be HIV positive within the last 72 hours, it’s important to get help straight away. Please don’t leave it until the 72 hours is up or nearly up.
Find out more about PEPSE here.
Birmingham LGBT supported by Umbrella are committed to providing quality, accessible and appropriate sexual health services for the LGBT community. We offer a weekly sexual health and well-being clinics for all LGB or T people.
We provide a safe, confidential space for those who may prefer to access this service in a dedicated LGBT environment.
We run various clinics which are either NHS nurse or consultant led and facilitated by sexual health promotion team. These clinics are suitable for people who may have symptoms or need STI treatments and offer a range of testing and examination and provision or many STI treatments.
These clinics include:
Find out more about our nurse & consultant led clinics here.
Find out about our clinics