We see hundreds of people each year who attend our clinics with worries about possible HIV exposure and associated early HIV symptoms.
In the UK, the prevalence of HIV is actually very low, with around 120,000 out of the population 65 million people thought to be infected.
Unfortunately around a quarter of those infected are unaware that they are HIV positive.
The risks of infection are very real and the illness is severe and significant, but it is important to remember that the risk of HIV transmission from a sexual encounter with someone not known to be HIV positive amounts to a chance of around 2 in 1,000,000 (two in a million) on any single occasion if the exposure risk occured in the UK.
The risk may be higher if the sexual contact occured abroad.
Having said that, if you believe you have been exposed to the risk of HIV infection or have one or more of the symptoms associated with the syndrome, it is obviously sensible to seek medical help and you should consider getting a HIV test.
HIV testing is normally a matter of putting people's minds at rest and alleviating anxiety.
Over 99% of the tests we undertake give a NEGATIVE result and offer immediate peace of mind to those concerned.
In 18 years of testing for HIV mainly in the East Midlands, our clinic has found less than 10 positive results, with every positive case being confirmed in the higher risk bracket (see opposite).