Writers - Paul Matthews, Nick Laird, Allie Cherry, James Whyte, Alan Surgeon, Linda Thompson, Ann Mariott, Paul Robertson. Edit and Design - Brian Houston
ROSS MACKAY, HEALTH ADVISOR, TAKES US THROUGH THE HIV TEST
You have decided to take an HIV Test. The guy at Switchboard has told you, if you live in Edinburgh , the place to go is the GUM Department of the Royal Infirmary. He has given you the number and you ring up but you can't get through as it's always engaged. Eventually you get through, but the woman on the other end starts asking all these questions and you get confused. You hang up and make a coffee and worry all over again. If only there was a more simple way?
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV it may be a good idea to consider speaking to someone about your anxieties.
The Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine or GUM Clinic offers testing to anyone who thinks that they may have been at risk of HIV. Pre and Post Test Counselling are undertaken by trained professionals who will ask you a series of questions to assess your risk factors. If it is considered appropriate you will be offered a same day HIV Test. An HIV Test involves taking blood from your arm and then sending the blood to the New Royal Infirmary where the test is carried out. In order to carry this process out the blood has to be sent off from the department no later than 10.30 in the morning and the results are available by roughly 3.30 in the afternoon.
All patients are offered HIV Testing but it may not always be possible to offer a Same Day Test. You can, however, have your blood taken and we will endeavour to get you a result within 48 hours. This may be a more practical alternative, and whilst we appreciate 48 hours can feel a long time it is quicker than most people have to wait for blood results.
There are ways that you can speed the process up though. If you feel that you have been exposed to HIV ask yourself a few questions first.
IT CAN TAKE UP TO 12 WEEKS FOR HIV TO SHOW UP IN A BLOOD TEST.
Have 12 weeks lapsed so that you don't have to put yourself through this more than you have to?
MUST I know the result that day?
If you know in advance that you are going to have to consider testing and you really want the result back that day then why not book the appointment in advance .Same Day Tests are currently available only on a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. By clearly stating at the time you book that you would like a Same Day Test then we will endeavour to give you an appropriate appointment. These appointments are very much in demand so it would be a good idea to phone about 4 weeks in advance. If you can wait for the result then you may request an appointment more suitable to your schedule and negotiate with the Doctor or Health Adviser at the time when you could return for your result.
It may be that you don't know if you have put yourself at risk of HIV. In some cases people may just want to talk things through first but might not want to take the actual test yet. That is ok. All you have to do then is phone up and ask for an appointment to see a Health Adviser about taking an HIV Test. No one will force you to take a test but may offer you some advice about when it could be appropriate and more beneficial to do so.
IS THIS REALLY THE RIGHT TIME FOR ME TO TAKE AN HIV TEST?
Taking an HIV Test should not be decided quickly as the consequences of receiving a positive result can affect ALL aspects of your life from your love life to your career.
You should ask yourself, "What else is going on in my life just now?" and "What would I do if this result comes back positive?"
Are you in the middle of moving house? Are you studying for exams? Are you about to go on holiday for 2 weeks the next day?
Talking this over with a Health Adviser can assist in reducing all those anxieties and assist in living and loving safely through a troubled time.
Some people contact us in a panic. A previous partner has been in touch telling you that they are HIV positive and you need to get tested. What do you do? Give us a call. Ask to speak to a Health Adviser and explain the situation. We will make every effort to see you that day if possible.
So why not give us a call? We are open Monday to Friday 9 - 5pm . The Department is very busy and it may be difficult to get through but please keep on trying. Or if you are passing the department pop in and make an appointment in person.
THE LAURISTON BUILDING
39 LAURISTON PLACE
0131 536 2103
A full list of GUM clinics in Scotland and the rest of the UK and Ireland is available at -
is a partnership project representing the LGBT community in Scotland. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the partners. However, if they're witty, intelligent and insightful - they probably are. If you flicked through this mag, saw a photie and made an assumption about someone's sexuality - then you're about ten years behind what we're trying to do here. Click the mag off and walk away. Accurate at going online time, but hey, we didn't get this sarky without making mistakes.