NEWS: Andrew is one of the faces of National HIV Test Week.

Photograph by Thomas Knights for Terrence Higgins Trust.

Andrew has been asked by the Terrence Higgins Trust to be one of the faces of the 2019 It Starts With Me national HIV test week campaign.

National HIV Testing Week 2019 takes place from 16 November and runs just after 1 December 2019 (World AIDS Day).

Andrew can be seen in doctor’s surgeries, via social media and many other publicity materials. It’s a great opportunity to get tested and encourage others to test for HIV. Testing is free, fast, confidential and simple – you can even do it at home.

Andrew came out on stage as HIV+ on stage at the Dominion Theatre in 2014 and has dedicated his life to the eradication of stigma surrounding the virus and can regularly be seen and heard in the national press discussing the issues that surround HIV/AIDS.

Why test?

The sooner you find out whether 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.

It’s a good idea to test at least once a year (or more often if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner).

*Viral load is how much HIV is in someone’s body, measured by a blood test. Treatment can push levels of HIV so low that tests show it’s at ‘undetectable’ levels.

Getting tested for HIV

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.