Getting tested for HIV - we can help
Seek medical advice as soon as possible if you think you might have been exposed to HIV as you may be advised to take emergency anti-HIV medication called PEPSE (post-exposure prophylaxis after exposure to HIV).
The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test. You can request a free and confidential HIV postal test kit here. Our team also offers HIV testing at all of our clinics and everybody who attends is offered a HIV test routinely. It is important that if you have ever has sex without a condom you have an HIV test when it is offered.
We also offer 'point of care' testing for people who have had an exposure risk, which can give a preliminary result in minutes.
You should have a test:
- every time you have a different sexual partner
- at least every 3 months if you change sexual partner frequently
- each time you are pregnant
- if you have ever shared needles, syringes or other injecting equipment e.g. for steroids or other drugs
You should think about having a HIV test at least once a year even if you have protected sex, especially if you or your partner is a man who has sex with men (MSM).
It's important to be aware that:
- HIV tests may need to be repeated up to three months after potential exposure to HIV infection (this is known as the "window period"), but you shouldn't wait this long to seek help.
If your first test suggests you have HIV, a further blood test will be carried out to confirm the result. If this is positive, you'll be referred to a specialist HIV clinic for a discussion about your treatment options. We work closely with the Wirral HIV Service based at Arrowe Park Hospital and the Liverpool HIV Service based at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. We will also help you to find a HIV clinic closer to home if you live outside Wirral.
An early diagnosis with HIV means you can start treatment sooner, which can improve your long term health. Although there is no cure for HIV, treatments are now very effective, enabling people with HIV to live long and healthy lives.