Getting tested for HIV - we can help
Seek medical advice as soon as possible if you think you might have been exposed to HIV.The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test. This involves testing a sample of your blood for signs of the infection.
Our team offers HIV testing at all of our clinics and everybody who attends is offered an 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. Download our clinic timetable.
We can offer ‘point of care’ testing to people who can be deemed high risk, including:
- men who have sex with men are advised to have an HIV test at least once a year, or every three months if they're having unprotected sex with new or casual partners
- black African men and women are advised to have an HIV test, and a regular HIV and STI screen, if they're having unprotected sex with new or casual partners
Other people at an increased risk of infection include those who share needles, syringes or other injecting equipment.
It's important to be aware that:
- emergency anti-HIV medication called PEPSE (post-exposure prophylaxis after exposture to HIV) may stop you becoming infected if started within three days of possible exposure to the virus, and starting it as soon as possible is recommended
- an early diagnosis means you can start treatment sooner, which can improve your chances of controlling the condition
- HIV tests may need to be repeated one 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
- clinic tests can sometimes give you a result in minutes, although it may take a few days to get the result of a more detailed blood test *point of care testing
If your first test suggests you have HIV, a further blood test will need to be carried out to confirm the result. If this is positive, you'll be referred to a specialist HIV clinic for some more tests and a discussion about your treatment options. Sexual Health Wirral work closely with the Wirral HIV service based at Arrowe Park Hospital.
Although there is no cure for HIV, treatments are now very effective, enabling people with HIV to live long and healthy lives.