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6 things to say to a friend who’s worried about testing for HIV

Francesca Harrington-Edmans

30 November 2018

Being afraid of taking an HIV test is pretty common, but here are 6 things you can say to help put someone’s mind at rest.

A still from a video showing a woman saying "I encourage everyone to go for a test"

Many of us know that feeling – the anxiety of getting an HIV test – but for some people it can be enough to put them off going altogether. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of 6 things you can say to reassure someone who’s worried about taking a test. It might just be the encouragement they need!

After all, now that HIV treatment means people can live long and healthy lives – taking a test is one of the best things you can do for your health.

1. “I know how you feel”

It’s normal to feel anxious before taking an HIV test, especially if you haven’t done it before. Knowing that other people feel the same way might give your friend the courage they need to face their fears. It’s always helpful to know that you are not alone.

2. “It’s  quicker and easier than you’d expect”

It’s pretty common for people to imagine that getting tested for HIV is a huge ordeal – they might think that they will be judged or that the test will be painful. But none of that is true. Getting tested is quick, easy and almost always free. All you have to do is give a quick saliva or blood sample and in some cases you can get your results back in a matter of minutes. It couldn’t be more pain-free.

3. “It gives you confidence”

If you know your status you can stop worrying and have the peace of mind that will give you confidence. Whether you are positive or negative, you can get back to living your life as usual – without the anxiety.

4. “You’ll be in control”

Knowing your status means that you know where you stand. If you’re positive you can start treatment, and if you’re negative you know what you can do to stay that way. It gives you the knowledge and power to take control of your health.

5. “The earlier the better”

If you find out that you have HIV early, you can start treatment right away! The sooner you get on treatment, the better you can protect your health. People living with HIV who take antiretroviral treatment can live long and healthy lives, meaning that nothing else has to change. And by lowering the levels of HIV in your body, treatment also makes it less likely you’ll pass HIV on to your sexual partners.

6. “I encourage you to go!”

Ultimately knowing your HIV status is one of the best ways that you can look after your health. You won’t regret it!

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