TV medic Dr Ranj takes an HIV test live on This Morning

TV medic Dr Ranj Singh had an HIV test live on This Morning.

The programme’s resident doctor, 40, showed viewers how “quick and easy” the check-up is by pricking his finger and collecting a small amount of blood in a vial.

Dr Singh, who specialises in young people’s health, got the “all clear” just two minutes later.

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Dr Ranj told This Morning viewers: “We're going to be talking about HIV testing; why it's important to get tested and treated ASAP if you're HIV positive.

“I'm just doing a quick test right now to show you how quick and easy it is.

“Literally that will give me a result within a few minutes.”

Viewers praised Dr Ranj Singh for taking an HIV test live on air. [Photo: This Morning]
Viewers praised Dr Ranj Singh for taking an HIV test live on air. [Photo: This Morning]

The former Strictly Come Dancing star explained how five times more middle-aged women in England are seeking HIV treatment than a decade ago.

He put this down to women being more “sexually liberated”, while high divorce rates mean many have new partners in later life.

Having gone through the menopause, some also mistakenly believe they do not need to use condoms, Dr Ranj warned.

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Fans flocked to Twitter to show their support for the “wonderful” medic.

This is not the first time This Morning has encouraged viewers to take their health into their own hands.

Love Island star Chris Hughes had his testicles checked for lumps live on air, which eventually led to his brother Ben being diagnosed with the cancer.

Women have also had their breast checks and undergone smear tests on the popular ITV show.

How many people have HIV? And what is the infection?

Around 103,800 people are thought to be living with HIV in the UK, National AIDS Trust (NAT) statistics show.

Of these, 93% have been diagnosed, leaving one in 14 unaware they have the infection.

HIV usually spreads via unprotected vaginal or anal sex, but can also be transmitted through shared needles or pregnancy.

The infection damages cells in the immune system, preventing them from fighting off everyday infections, like colds.

Although serious, HIV is treatable if spotted early.

Around 97% of diagnosed HIV patients in the UK are on treatment, NAT statistics show.

Of these, 97% are virally suppressed, meaning they cannot pass the virus on even if they have unprotected sex.

While HIV has no cure, treatment mean most are able to live a long, healthy life with the virus, according to the NHS.

Early diagnosis stops HIV developing into AIDS, which occurs when the immune system is so severely damaged, a patient is at risk of life-threatening infections and diseases.

HIV symptoms can take years to appear.

It is therefore important to get tested if you think you may be at risk.

Dr Ranj pricked his finger to collect a small vial of blood. [Photo: This Morning]
Dr Ranj pricked his finger to collect a small vial of blood. [Photo: This Morning]

How to get tested for HIV

The NHS provides free-of-charge HIV tests for everyone, however, eligibility for different types of tests varies.

Tests can be carried out at sexual health clinics and some GP surgeries.

Concerned people can also request an at-home test.

Home sampling kits involve collecting a saliva or blood sample, which then gets sent off for testing.

You will then be contacted within a few days with your result.

Check if you are eligible for a home sampling kit here.

Alternatively, home testing kits provide results within minutes.

Blood tests are more accurate than saliva samples, with most giving a reliable result around a month after infection, according to the NHS.

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If collecting your own blood is not for you, clinics can also take a sample.

This may get sent off to a laboratory or provide an almost immediate result.

If any of the above come back positive, a second blood test has to be carried out to confirm the diagnosis.

The NHS advises men who have sex with men to get tested at least once a year, or every three months if they have casual intercourse or regularly change partners.

Anal sex can cause HIV to spread due to the lining of the anus being more delicate than that of the vagina, according to the charity Avert.

This means it is more easily damaged, allowing the virus into the body.

The NHS also urges black African men and women to have a regular HIV test if they have unprotected sex with new or casual partners.

What are the symptoms of HIV? And how is it treated?

Around 80% of people infected with HIV develop flu-like symptoms two-to-six weeks later, according to the NHS.

These include fever, sore throat and a rash.

Some also experience fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle and joint pain.

Once this has passed, the infection may cause no further illness for years.

During this time, the virus is still active and damaging the immune system.

It can take 10 years before the immune system is severely damaged enough to be diagnosed as AIDS.

Symptoms include weight loss, chronic diarrhoea, night sweats, recurrent infections and life-threatening illnesses.

HIV is treated with anti-viral drugs that stop the pathogen replicating, allowing the body to repair itself.

Newly-diagnosed patients can take up to four drugs a day.

Within six months, most reach an undetectable viral load in their blood, according to the NHS.

Preventative treatment, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), is available if you think you may have become infected.

PEP must be taken within 72 hours and is usually recommended if you know you are at risk, such as if you had unprotected sex with an HIV+ partner.

If AIDS does develop, drugs can help to keep the immune system as healthy as possible and reduce complications.

Find out more about HIV and AIDS on the NHS’ website.

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