One in four people in the UK who have HIV do not know they have the disease
HIV : A perspective by Dr Bobby Ahmed
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).
HIV risk is greatest in the following scenarios
- Men who have sex with men (MSM)
- Unprotected sexual intercourse
- Sex with a commercial sex worker (prostitute, escort etc)
- Sex abroad – especially in Africa, SE Asia, Latin America
- Swingers parties
- Multiple partners / group sex
- Injecting / IV drug use
- Counselling and CBT for HIV anxiety
- Discussion of sexual health issues with our GPs
Advantages of attending Regent Street Clinic™ for your peace of mind HIV testing
- You can be as anonymous as you like.
- Comfortable, modern, discreet, private clinics.
- Friendly, non-judgemental staff.
- Fast, accurate testing.
- Experienced doctors trained in sexual health.
- HIV INSTANT DUO testing with results in a few mins.
- Care Quality Commission Registered practices.
HIV testing using 5th generation HIV DUO tests
The HIV antibody/p24 antigen DUO test is an excellent, accurate and inexpensive HIV test that reliably detects HIV infection that occurred just 28 days prior to the test. This HIV test is known as the ‘DUO’ because it tests for both HIV antibodies as well as the ‘HIV P24 antigen’. The HIV p24 antigen is a core HIV viral protein which becomes detectable at approximately 10 days post exposure, peaks at 16 days or so and then remains at high level for 8 to 10 weeks post exposure. It will then fluctuate over the rest of the course of the illness. HIV p24 antigen is extremely useful in combination with an HIV antibody test in determining early on whether an individual has been infected with HIV.
This 5th Generation HIV DUO test is sent to our private laboratory and is extremely accurate and is rated as 99.8% accurate after day 28 and 99.9% after day 90.
The 5th generation test is the most sensitive test for HIV available today. Results are available the following working day.
HIV testing using an Instant HIV test kit
The instant HIV test is another DUO test that looks for antibody and p24 antigen. Again it is an excellent, accurate and inexpensive HIV test that reliably detects HIV infection that occurred just 28 days prior to the test.
The instant test is devised by a company called Alere, who are at the forefront of “point of care” testing without the need to use a laboratory.
The accuracy of the test is reported as being 99.8% once 28 days have passed since the exposure risk.
The instant HIV test is done on a fingerprick sample and is virtually painless. The results are read within a matter of minutes on a strip (similar to a pregnancy test).