Skip to main content

5 reasons why people put off HIV testing according to Google

Christine Humphrey

27 November 2017

Let's clear up the confusion around testing — because there’s no good reason to put off getting an HIV test

Two young men sit at a table while looking at a mobile phone and smiling
Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour. Credit: iStock/Giselleflissak

But fear not, getting an HIV test is super easy, and there are lots of places you can go. Ask your healthcare worker and they’ll take you through the next steps.

Reason 1: I don't think I could cope with knowing I have HIV

Reality: This is by far the biggest worry people have about getting an HIV test, and the main reason people delay testing.

But actually, the anxiety caused by not knowing your status can be quite stressful too. By taking a test, you can get some relief by knowing your status either way. So whether you are HIV-positive or HIV-negative, you can act on that knowledge and continue to live your life. 

Remember, HIV treatment these days is so good that with the right support and adherence, your life doesn’t have to change much. There is also lots of support around to help cope with a new diagnosis, so you don’t need to do it alone. 

Reason 2: If I test positive, people will find out

Reality: As with any other matters relating to your health, your HIV test results are confidential. This means that the only people who should access information about your status are your doctor and any other relevant health professionals involved in the follow-up of your HIV treatment and any other support you need.

Sharing your diagnosis is a decision only you can make. So, if you are concerned about your results being shared without your consent, you should talk to your healthcare worker.

Reason 3: I don't need an HIV test because my blood has been taken in a hospital before

Reality: Did you know that an HIV test shouldn’t be performed without your explicit consent? You may have had blood taken before as part of other routine medical tests, but if you've not been asked if you would like an HIV test, then you shouldn't assume that you’ve been tested for HIV. 

But fear not, getting an HIV test is super easy, and there are lots of places you can go. Ask your healthcare worker and they’ll take you through the next steps.

Reason 4: I nearly always use condoms, so I don’t need to get tested

Reality: Condoms are a great way of protecting yourself from HIV, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies. 

But, every now and again it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and sometimes people can be forgetful. Even if you do use condoms regularly, making HIV testing part of your sexual health routine is a good habit to get into.

Reason 5: I haven't had sex recently, so I don't need an HIV test

Reality: Even if you have tested for HIV in the past, you might need to test again — depending on when you last took an HIV test and when you last had sex. 

Most HIV tests can only detect HIV if they are taken 3 months after suspected exposure. So, if you did take an HIV test within 3 months of putting yourself at risk and received a negative result, it's worth testing again to get a confirmed diagnosis.

Want to know more about HIV testing? Find out why you should get an HIV test, when is best to test, what’s involved and what happens after you receive the results

Get our news and blogs by email

Keep up-to-date with all our latest news stories and blogs by signing up to the Be in the KNOW news digest.

Still can't find what you're looking for?

Share this page

Did you find this page useful?
See what data we collect and why