South Tyneside Sexual Health Service has launched online platforms that offer access to FREE HIV testing and FREE condom kits that can be ordered online and delivered direct to your home.

The announcement coincides with National HIV Testing Week, an annual event which seeks to promote regular testing among key populations.

The campaign aims to reduce the numbers of undiagnosed people and those diagnosed late. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, National HIV Testing Week 2021 has a strong focus on promoting HIV testing at home.

This year’s campaign theme is ‘Give HIV The Finger: a finger-prick test is all it takes’. The campaign aims to encourage people to test for HIV at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While new HIV diagnoses have continued to fall, the latest data from Public Health England (PHE) reports 42% of all diagnoses were late. PHE warns that people diagnosed late face an eight-fold increased risk of mortality.

Why National HIV Testing Week is important

The number of people diagnosed with HIV is falling, but there is still work to do: one in 16 people with HIV are unaware they have it and spend an average of three to five years not knowing, increasing the risk of passing HIV on to sexual partners. Late diagnosis rates are still stubbornly high – 42% of people were diagnosed late in 2019. This correlates to poorer long-term health outcomes and leads to an eightfold increased risk of mortality.

Testing for HIV is quick and easy; all it takes is a finger-prick test.

People can live with HIV for a long time without any symptoms, testing is the only way to know your HIV status. If you have HIV, finding out means you can start treatment, stay healthy and avoid passing the virus onto anyone else.

Testing for HIV is still possible despite COVID-19 restrictions. You can test at home using HIV postal and self-test kits. These are safe and confidential, and enable you to take a test at your own convenience. Anyone diagnosed with HIV in the UK can access free treatment and support

To order a home STI testing kit including screening for HIV and condoms please visit the South Tyneside Sexual Health website link to order direct:

Order a STI test kit | SH:24