As you know, making a decision about anything involves considering a number of factors. How do you weigh the pros and cons of the advantages and disadvantages of a decision? To make an effective decision requires saying no to some things, sometimes even good things, in order that you can say yes to even greater things.

For most gay and bisexual men, routinely testing for HIV is something they have decided to say yes to, as part of looking after themselves and others. However, for other sexually active gay and bisexual men, deciding to test for HIV is a big decision.

What are the pros & cons to testing for HIV?

One way to answer this is to set some time aside for yourself to sit down with pen and paper. Trying to juggle with too many variables inside your head can be hard going. Besides, you may want to come back to this a few times if one session’s not enough.

List all the advantages and disadvantages for you personally, ‘weighing up’ the pros and cons about getting a positive or negative result.

Here are some examples:

 If I test positive

  • “I will now know for certain (a weight off my mind?)”
  • “Early diagnosis means I can be monitored and treated early to stay well”
  • “I can take steps to protect others”
  • “If I’m on treatment & my viral load is undetectable, I will be extremely unlikely to pass on HIV.”

 If I test negative

  • “I will now know for certain (even though I was pretty sure I was negative anyway)”
  • “A negative result keeps me motivated to stick to safer sex.”
  • “I will know for sure I cannot pass HIV on to others because I have evidence now that I don’t have it!”
  • “I’m testing with my partner as part of our commitment together.”

How can the Steve Retson Project help?

If you would like some support around making a decision to test for HIV, an SRP health advisor can help you decide if testing is appropriate for you at this time or not. Remember, only you can decide when you’re ready to test.

Of course, you may have already decided that getting an HIV test is the appropriate decision for you.

For more information have a look at our clinic times and venues pages