Reports show that sexual health services are being displaced by increased monkeypox testing and vaccination, resulting in a drop of HIV testing to alarming rates since 2019.
Between 6 and 12 February, residents of the United Kingdom will be encouraged to get tested for HIV. The campaign is nationally recognised to raise awareness and promote the importance of knowing your HIV status.
According to Ian Green, the Chief Executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust: “Today’s statistics shows that STI and HIV testing rates are still lagging behind pre-COVID levels seen in 2019”. He explains that monkeypox testing has been taking place in the already limited sexual health services, which has been displacing HIV testing.
Regular testing is particularly offered for groups most affected by the HIV virus, including gay, bisexual men, and ethnic minorities.
The annual event aims to reduce the numbers of undiagnosed people and those diagnosed late. The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) report shows that HIV diagnoses continue to remain high.
This year’s testing comes with a new strap line called ‘I Test’, replacing the past 5 year ‘Give HIV The Finger’ headline. The new headline intends to explore people’s different reasons for testing, allowing for flexibility in responding to the needs of different audiences.
During the HIV Test Week, anyone in England can order a free test online. Unlike older tests which took weeks to reveal results, these tests provide rapid results within 30 minutes or less.
Free online testing can be found at freetesting.hiv