A study in BC has show a decline in new HIV cases amongst people injecting drugs. A report released in March 2011 attributes this to a successful HIV treatment called HAART (Highly Active Anti-retroviral Therapy). This pilot program was launched in February 2010 and aims to better connect “at risk” groups with testing and treatment services.
This is interesting as another recent report has shown that new cases of HIV have doubled in the last 10 years in the “at risk” groups in the UK. The at risk groups are men having sex with other men and the black African community. In the UK, NICE National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) have now created new guidelines to offer regular HIV tests to men registering at practises in areas of a lot of diagnosed cases of HIV.
This is a good indication that regular testing for HIV helps raise awareness and prevent spread. Not only would an HIV test help prevent you from infecting others, if diagnosed early, the chances of survival are far greater.
STD testing to reduce new infections isn’t just limited to HIV though of course. Chlamydia for example is often undiagnosed and as it is mainly symptom free, spreads fast. Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed STI in the UK however as many as 1 in 14 people in the 16 – 24 year old age group have undiagnosed Chlamydia because so few people in this age group get themselves screened for the infection. Undiagnosed infections spreads quickly and so it is crucial to go for STD testing if you believe you have put yourself at risk of an STD.
STDs such as Chlamydia are often symptom less and some like Gonorrhea and Syphilis can wait several months before symptoms appear. If you have been exposed to risk, don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Head to the most convenient STI clinic and get yourself seen. Some clinics offer rapid testing for some diseases such as rapid HIV testing. Going to your local GP will probably get you a referral to a clinic but some walk in clinics do not need referrals so research a little online, if you’d rather not see your own doctor.