Testing isn’t always easy... but it’s the only way to know whether you have HIV... and to be part of the effort to end HIV. Do any of these common barriers to HIV testing sound familiar? Click on each statement for more info... then go and get tested!
IT’S JUST TOO STRESSFUL TO WAIT A WEEK FOR MY RESULTS
I’M REALLY BUSY, I DON'T HAVE TIME
I HAVEN’T TAKEN MANY RISKS SO I DON’T NEED TO GET TESTED
I’M IN A MONOGAMOUS RELATIONSHIP
MY DOCTOR IS ALWAYS BOOKED
I’M WORRIED THAT MY RESULTS MIGHT END UP BEING MADE PUBLIC
I CAN’T AFFORD TO GET TESTED
IT’S DIFFICULT TO FIND A DOCTOR I’M COMFORTABLE WITH
IT’S TOO SCARY!
WHY TEST? I’VE GOT NO HIV SYMPTOMS AND I FEEL GREAT.
You may not have to. Rapid HIV tests aren’t generally available but are being used by some GPs with a high caseload of gay men, some sexual health centres, and a few other specific sites in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. Rapid tests provide results during the same appointment. Find a site here
. Alternatively, some GPs and clinics offer standard HIV test results on the phone or by text message after a few days. Ask your clinic about this option.
Think about how much time you spend doing other things then how little time it will actually take to have an HIV test. Testing doesn’t take long, and if you’re able to access rapid HIV testing (at locations in NSW, Queensland and Victoria - find a site here
), you’ll be able to have your test and get your results in 30 minutes or less. It’s important to make some time to do this for yourself.
Even if you don’t think you have taken risks, experts recommend every sexually active gay man should test at least once a year, but if it’s twice, it’d be even better. Some STIs can be transmitted even when condoms are used, so regular testing for HIV and STIs should be as much a part of taking charge of your health as brushing your teeth. To find out where to get tested, check out our toolbox.
That’s great, but did you know that 1 in 4 HIV transmissions occur among men in a regular relationship? Many gay men are reluctant to test knowing their status might affect or end their relationship – or that the test results might reveal they haven’t been monogamous. But sticking your head in the sand just isn’t smart. Knowing your status puts you in control of your health and your future.
Getting a doctor's appointment isn’t always easy but be persistent. It’s worth it. You can make appointments with some clinics or doctors online. There are also many sexual health clinics and GPs operating outside regular hours - sometimes until 9pm or 10pm or on Saturdays.
No risk of that. All HIV tests done (in private GP surgeries or public clinics) are confidential – and it's illegal to breach patient confidentiality.
Did you know that sexual health clinics offer free appointments without a Medicare card? Also, you may be able to get a rapid HIV test if you live in NSW, Queensland or Victoria. Rapid testing is gay-friendly, quick, easy and in many cases, free.
Finding a doctor or a sexual health clinic that you feel comfortable with is an important step and can take some time. Asking someone you trust if there is a doctor or clinic they’d recommend is a good start.
Getting HIV tested can be nerve racking but testing regularly is important for your health. Consider talking to a close friend, family member or partner about your decision to have an test or better yet, ask them to come with you when you get your results. If you don’t have someone to turn to, you can contact your local AIDS Council
Even if there isn’t much chance you have been exposed to HIV, experts recommend all gay men who have had sex in the previous year test at least once a year - symptoms or not - but if it’s twice, it’d be even better. The majority of guys newly diagnosed with HIV do not notice symptoms.