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  • Public Health Wales

Early HIV testing key to living healthy lives

As Wales HIV Testing Week starts, community groups and healthcare

professionals are reminding sexually active people that anyone can get HIV, and

that regular testing is vital to protect yourself and others.

Getting an early diagnosis means people living with HIV can access treatment

that will ensure they can live as long as anyone else. Effective treatment

reduces the amount of virus in the blood to undetectable levels, meaning HIV

can’t be passed on to others.

In addition, people who do not test positive for HIV may be eligible for PrEP –

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis medication which prevents the infection from getting

into the body.

It’s a call that’s echoed by Andre Faria, a senior management

consultant from Cardiff, who says that using the free Wales-wide postal testing

service meant he was able to take greater control of his life.

“I found that using the postal sexual health testing service is really convenient

– I’ve used it a few times and it’s much more straightforward than having to

arrange a trip to the sexual health clinic which involves having to take time off


“The opportunity to get my tests done from the comfort of my own home is

great. The tests are easy enough to do, and I usually have the results back

within a week.

“By doing the tests and engaging with the service I have been able to access

PrEP, which has given me great peace of mind that I will not contract HIV.

“The process was straightforward and the staff were very friendly, and I felt I

was given all the information, support and advice I needed.”

Accessing an HIV test is really straightforward, and is available to anyone in

Wales: a free, easy to use finger-prick test kit can be ordered from Sexual

Health Wales’ website.

The test can be sent to an address of your choice, and the results are

completely confidential.

Zoe Couzens, Head of Programme for Sexual Health at Public Health Wales,

said: “Wales HIV Testing Week gives us an opportunity to reiterate the

importance of regular testing, because HIV can affect anyone who is having

condomless sex.

“In Wales, HIV testing has never been easier and the process is completely

confidential. Making testing accessible is a key part of the Welsh Government’s

HIV Action Plan. Knowing your status means that those who need antiretroviral

treatment, can access it and live a long and healthy life. By being on treatment

they cannot pass HIV on to others.”

Founded in 2021, by volunteers working together as a Fast Track Cities

initiative, Wales HIV Testing Week has quickly established itself as an effective

tool in increasing testing and tackling HIV-related stigma in Wales. This year,

the campaign is being led by Public Health Wales in close partnership with the

same volunteers. This follows the publication of the Welsh Government’s HIV

Action Plan for Wales, which aims to eliminate all new HIV cases and achieve

zero tolerance of HIV-related stigma by 2030.

Zoe Couzens adds: “This year, we’re really pleased to be working with partners

to deliver a campaign that will build on the success of previous testing weeks,

as well as drawing on the pioneering work of volunteer-led campaigns delivered

at a local level before 2021. Investment from Welsh Government means that

this year’s Wales HIV Testing Week will be the biggest ever, and working with

volunteers and community groups will help us reach more people than ever


More information about Public Health Wales is available at



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