Private and Confidential HIV Testing in London
For early detection of HIV, testing is the only way to confirm a diagnosis.
Symptoms of HIV may not appear for many years however if you are infected with the virus you can infect others and early treatment with antiretroviral medication increases your life expectancy.
We specialise in providing the fastest, most accurate and confidential HIV tests in London. Simply book an appointment online or walk into our clinic for private HIV testing. Same day appointments are also available for a quick test. (Telephone 0203 745 7523)
We are open 7 days in a week from 9am to 9pm. Tests for HIV infection are quick and easy at affordable rates and at a convenient time to suit you, including Sunday.
Test records are safely and confidentiality kept. No records will be shared with any third-party. If further intervention and treatment is necessary our doctor will give you advice on what you need to do next.
What is HIV?
HIV is an abbreviation of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus replicates within the human body and destroys your natural immune system resulting in your inability to combat even a commonplace infection. Immunisation is also compromised as your antibodies will be insufficient to fight off diseases i.e. measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox etc.
This virus is in the group of retroviruses. HIV destroys cells called CD4 T cells, a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte) it actually multiplies within these cells. CD4 T cells protect the body against bacteria and viruses. White blood cells cannot destroy it, as it continues to change its outer coat, thus protecting itself.
When your immune system has been depleted you then develop AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus). People infected with HIV do not automatically develop AIDS. Very few people in the UK with HIV go on to develop AIDS. (Modern treatments slow the progression of the infection). Unfortunately, as yet, there is no cure. Antiretroviral treatment means that HIV infected individuals live much longer.
Prevention of HIV i.e. practicing safe sex and avoiding shared needles is important. If you do contract HIV infection, getting a diagnosis with ongoing treatment are life-saving.
Common Symptoms of Primary HIV Infection
When a person is initially infected with HIV, the condition it is known as: ‘Primary HIV infection’.
The Classic Triad symptoms after initial infection include blotches, rashes and a sore throat. Four out of every five patients present with these symptoms at this early stage.
Other symptoms include:
- Severe fatigue
- Persistent headache
- Swollen glands and
- General aches and pain
The symptoms usually clear up in 3 weeks and are generally treated as flu. However the virus remains hidden but continues to multiply. There may not be any further tale tells signs or symptoms for up to 10 years or more however may be earlier. Meanwhile and the HIV virus can be passed on to others during this time. This is why practicing safe sex by using condoms is important for everyone.
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Testing for HIV Infection
Being tested for HIV is the only way to establish whether or not you are HIV positive. A sample of blood is screened to identify the infection.
The HIV Duo 4th Generation is a special type of HIV test, which is recommended from the 28th day after exposure. The latest Early Detection Rapid HIV test is the procedure of molecular testing, which is effective from the 10th day after exposure.
How HIV Tests work:
The HIV test used at the STD Check Clinic London will search for HIV I & II antigens in the blood sample taken when you attend. The antigens can be detected within 28 days of exposure to the virus and results are received on the same day. Your results will then be one of the following:
- Negative –HIV antigen is not detected in the sample. If you have performed the test after 28 days have elapsed, you can consider yourself HIV free.
- Reactive – HIV antigens were detected in the sample, the test should be repeated and if confirmed, treatment should be started immediately.
- Invalid – The test delivers invalid response which means something went wrong while performing the test. The result is not an indication of HIV status of the person and will need to be repeated.
How often you should get tested at our STD clinic?
People who are in the age group of 13 to 64 years should perform at least one HIV test in a year. Make sure you consider HIV testing yearly and prior to sexual contact with a new partner.
Certain people are at particular risk of contracting HIV and should undergo more regular testing at our STD Clinic.
These groups include:
- People who had unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex with more than one partner or with an anonymous partner since the last screening.
- Homosexual men having sex with more than one male partner (MSM).
- Black African men and women having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.
- Intravenous (IV) drugs users i.e. hormones, steroids or illicit substances.
- Having been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) i.e. hepatitis or syphilis.
- Engaging in sex for drugs or money.
- Have had unprotected sex with someone who has been sexually assaulted.
- Women previously at risk planning to get pregnant.
Why choose us for HIV testing
We offer fast and accurate results for HIV tests in a professional, convenient environment maintaining strict confidentiality. As one of the most trusted private STI testing clinics in London, we offer same-day appointments 7 days a week. We make booking HIV tests with us completely hassle free.
Unlike most walk-in STI clinics, you meet a registered, experienced, GP, who will offer his expert advice on the kind of test you should take. When you re-book your follow-up consultation, we can also arrange for you to see the original doctor on request.
Searching for HIV test clinic near to you? Visit our walk in HIV clinic in London today!
FAQs on HIV Testing
1. How HIV is transmitted?
Sexual activity is largely how HIV is transmitted (In the blood, semen and vaginal fluids of an infected person). Human saliva does not contain the virus. Oral sex is safe provided there are no lesions in the mouth i.e. an oral ulcer, damaged gums or a sore throat.
Sharing needles of an infected person or an infected blood transfusion are also routes of transmission. Pregnant women can sometimes pass on the infection to their babies in the womb however the incidence is greatly reduced to 2% if the mother is already on treatment but some medicines for HIV are not suitable to take during pregnancy. Our doctor will be able to advise you on this. HIV positive mothers should not breastfeed their babies which adds another risk.
2. When is the right time to go for an HIV test?
If you believe you have contracted HIV, for peace of mind, have yourself tested. HIV cannot be detected right away, as your body takes time to make antibodies or for enough virus to grow inside you. It may be up to 6 months before a positive result seen, which means an early test could be negative even though you are infected. Our doctor will advise on what you need to do next if you believe you have had sexual contact with a positive HIV person without protection.
3. What are the different types of HIV tests I can go for?
Test options available to screen for HIV include home test kits. They vary in price from £20 - £40 on the internet. The important ones in this category entail:
- A Blood test
- Home sampling kit
- Point of care test
At STD Check, we only perform blood testing through accredited laboratories with nursing staff taking a blood sample from you. We do not offer testing kits over the internet.
4. I want to know about p24 antigen test. How is it linked to HIV?
The p24 antigen is a special type of viral protein in your body. With HIV infection the concentrations of the p24 antigen keeps steadily rising. During the early stages the tests sensitive to p24 antigen, which detects the virus faster, are conducted by accredited laboratories.
5. How long does HIV test result take to come?
Our HIV test requires a sample of your blood. Specific markers are looked for in the sample. This entire procedure can be carried out on a fast-track basis so that results are available the same day. However, in some instances, the markers may require a few days for further development to be sure.
6. Is there any treatment for HIV?
Usually PEP is recommended for people infected with HIV. This can start within 72 hours and is helpful reducing the risk of developing HIV. The treatment lasts for a month. If you are tested positive, antiretroviral medications are prescribed. It involves a combination of drugs to help your immune system repair itself. As a result, the chances of your HIV infection progressing to AIDS are considerably reduced.
7. How can I get tested for HIV in London?
STD Check London uses fast, reliable laboratories to test for your HIV status. Our doctors and nurses are experienced practitioners to care for your needs. We are proud to be one of the most reliable places to get tested in London. You can be assured of our full confidentiality and ongoing care.
Email or place a call to book your appointment or walk into our clinic as a walk-in patient. It takes very little time to get tested. There is no time lost waiting for the post to arrive. We are open 7 days a week from 9am – 9pm during the week and 9am - 2pm at the weekends.