National HIV Testing WeekWe all want to stop the spread of HIV, but it takes each of us to accept our responsibilities to make it happen.

It Starts With Me is a national campaign from the Terrance Higgins Trust and which aims to bring together real people and their stories to stop HIV.

In the leather community, we engage in many practices which can potentially expose people to the risk of STIs and whatever we’re into, we need to know the risks, be informed and make our choices based on accurate information. Knowing our own HIV status is part of this.

Getting tested is a key part of making informed life choices. As the Starts With Me Campaign says on its website:

Testing is good for you. The sooner you find out you have HIV, the better it is for your health. If you have HIV for a long time without knowing, it can damage your body and even shorten your life. Test negative and you end any worries or doubt.

Testing is good for all of us. Someone taking medication and with an undetectable viral load* cannot pass on HIV. But most people get HIV from someone who doesn’t realise they have it. If more people test and get the medication they need we could dramatically cut the numbers who get HIV in the future.

They are advocating a simple strategy to help all of us combat HIV infection: Test – Treat – Protect – Take Action. And to support that first stage, testing, the charity is promoting National HIV Testing Week.

19th – 25th November

There are various options for getting tested for HIV including testing at your local sexual health clinic, GP surgery or local HIV organisation. You can also test at home using either a postal test or a self test. Follow these links to find out more and get started: