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HIV is in every country across the world. Anyone can be at risk from HIV. Some people are at continual risk and others are only at risk a few times in their life.

 

There are only two programmes for HIV testing in Irish society at the moment:

  • Programme for pregnant women who present themselves at the maternity services for medical care
  • Programme for immigrants to the country who are seeking asylum from other countries

 

This is mainly because those two groups of people are in processes where it is easy to test them as part of health checks. This means that the vast majority of Irish society has never been tested.

A HIV test is the only way to know whether you have HIV or not. It is your responsibility to request a HIV test as you cannot get a test any other way unless you are pregnant or seeking asylum.

 

There are many reasons to test, here a few:

  • Worrying about whether you have HIV or not will do damage to your mental health. Getting tested, whilst it may be difficult, could relieve your worries and reduce your stress
  • The first part of maintaining your sexual health is to know your sexual health status and this can only be achieved by sexual health screening
  • If you know you are living with HIV, then you can do something to help yourself
  • HIV medication can only be prescribed to people who have had a HIV diagnosis

 

The vast majority of people who get a HIV test receive a negative diagnosis.

 

It is recommended that people get tested for HIV if:

  • You have had unprotected sex or sex where the condom broke
  • You have experimented with injecting drugs
  • Your sexual partner(s) may have been at risk
  • You have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection at some point in your life
  • You have had medical treatment abroad
  • You have been subjected to sexual violence

 

The main reason to test is because you know you may have been at risk from HIV transmission.

You cannot tell by looking at someone if they are living with HIV.

HIV is a virus that takes years to fully develop within your body. Once developed it begins to weaken your immunity system so you are vulnerable to illnesses and infections.

As with all conditions, treatment is more effective if it is administered at the early stages of the infection. It is now possible to live a natural, healthy life span and live with HIV provided you find out about it before it damages your immune system.