HIV: Four Reasons It’s Better to Know
A lot of guys tell us that they put off getting tested for HIV because they’re scared of getting a positive result – that the consequences will be too much to deal with. The reality is that these days HIV is most dangerous when you don’t know that you have it.
Here are four reasons why it's better to know:
1. The sooner you know, the more control you have
If a test reveals you’re HIV positive, you’re able to meet with a doctor and discuss your options for treatment. HIV treatment does not cure HIV, but it can reduce levels of the virus in the blood to such low levels that it is not able to cause damage to your immune system.
If you don’t get tested you’re not able to start treatment. Left untreated, HIV causes serious damage to your immune system.
2. Starting treatment early reduces other risks too
A landmark study in 2015 found that people who start treatment for HIV early were 57% less likely to develop serious illnesses like cancer later on in life. This means that if you’re delaying getting tested it may be causing you more harm in the long run. The sooner you find out you are positive the better because you can talk to a doctor about treatment options and potentially nip these risks in the bud.
3. It also drastically reduces your risk of passing HIV on to others
That’s right, starting HIV treatment can reduce the levels of virus in your body to such low levels that it becomes undetectable in a blood test. Evidence shows that this drastically reduces the risk of passing on HIV during sex – even without condoms. Of course, we encourage people to maintain using condoms because they also protect against other STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea.
4. Treatments are way better these days
HIV treatments in the past were often a hassle to take and the side effects were quite bad, but the newer treatments available these days are far more effective against HIV and any side effects are relatively easy to manage.
People starting modern treatment take few tablets once or twice a day, and in fact some people with HIV take only one pill once a day. These great advances in treatment mean more people with HIV are on treatment – and are living healthy and happy lives.
Now go get tested!
Using condoms and lube is the most effective way to prevent HIV and other STIs. The more times you have anal sex without condoms the more often you should test. Book a free and confidential HIV rapid test, with results in 20 minutes.