Checkpoint is an anonymous and free of charge HIV testing service in Helsinki for gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men. It takes place every Thursday from 2pm to 6pm (except on national holidays), no appointment needed. We use rapid HIV testing so the result will be ready in 60 seconds! The appointment takes approximately 15 minutes with counseling. Address: Unioninkatu 45 K, 00170 Helsinki.
Checkpoint service is also available once a month in Tampere and in Oulu. You can read more about Checkpoint here.
For people with an immigrant background living in Helsinki there’s also a possibility to come to our Walk-in HIV testing every Monday from 2pm to 6pm.
PREVENTIVE WORK AMONG GAY AND BISEXUAL MEN
The preventive work is targeted to men who have sex with men. The work was initiated because the number of HIV infections acquired in sexual contacts between men has risen in Finland in recent years.
The purpose of the work is to reduce the number of new HIV infections acquired in sexual contacts between men and to promote the sexual health of the target group in general. By providing reliable, readily available information about sex and promoting a positive attitude toward condoms, the members of the target group are encouraged to contemplate their sexual behavior and to take up safer sex habits.
Internationally acknowledged human rights include the Universal Declaration of Sexual Rights, which includes 11 sexual rights:
- The right to sexual freedom.
- The right to sexual autonomy, sexual integrity, and safety of the sexual body.
- The right to sexual privacy.
- The right to sexual equity.
- The right to sexual pleasure.
- The right to emotional sexual expression.
- The right to sexually associate freely.
- The right to make free and responsible reproductive choices.
- The right to sexual information based upon scientific inquiry.
- The right to comprehensive sexuality education.
- The right to sexual health care.
This means that for example in Finland it is legally and socially acceptable to be gay and everyone should be treated equally.
About HIV and other STI’s
STIs are infectious diseases which are transmitted through sexual contact. STIs can be transmitted in both anal sex and oral sex if a condom is not used. Other STI’s are much more common and easily transmitted that HIV, but it’s good to be aware of the fact that HIV is more common among gay and bisexual men than among other people.
The highest risk of HIV is in anal sex without condom. In oral sex, the one who performs it and has a possibility of getting sperm in their mouth has a small possibility of HIV transmission. Other STI’s (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) can transmitted in both anal and oral sex (including rimming). Hepatitis C can be transmitted if there’s bleeding during unprotected anal sex. You can read more about HIV and other STI’s here.
STI’s may remain asymptomatic for years, but they can nevertheless be transmitted.
Left untreated, STIs can lead to various kinds of complications, such as infertility (both in men and women), different kinds of infections and joint problems. It is important to test and treat sex partners as well. An untreated STI always significantly increases the risk of HIV transmission.
The proper use of a condom is the only way to avoid STIs.
If you have had unprotected sex and you want to know whether you have an STI or if you have developed symptoms, get yourself tested.
It is recommended to wait a week after the risk situation, or one to three months in the case of HIV. Services within public health care are for the most part free of charge, and in some cases, treatments and medication as well.
When and how to get tested?
Other places where you can get tested for HIV and other STI’s
- Local health centers
- Regional hospitals’ departments of venereology
- Student Health Services YTHS: yths.fi
- Finnish Red Cross’s Pluspoints: redcross.fi (only HIV testing)
In addition you can also get tested at a private clinic where the service is liable to a charge.
If you suspect that you have contracted some other sexually transmitted disease or you have symptoms, you should contact your local outpatient clinic for sexually transmitted diseases or healthcare clinic. Advisory services and tests are also available at students’ healthcare clinics and private healthcare clinics.
The STI tests should not be taken earlier than 1-2 weeks from the possible transmission. In the case of syphilis, you should wait one month, and in the case of HIV and hepatitis, up to three months from the suspected incident. The HIV tests involve detecting antibodies of the HI-virus and they may take up to three months to develop. This means that the result of the HIV test is reliable if the test is taken three months after the last possible transmission.
If your test result is positive: It’s good to remember that all STI’s can be treated. Other STI’s can be totally cured and HIV is nowadays very treatable in Western countries. With HIV medication you can lead a normal life and the virus doesn’t affect your life expectancy. HIV doesn’t transmit from a person who is on treatment and has undetectable viral load. HIV status doesn’t affect your working life, educational possibilities or for example matters of asulym or residence permit.
Counseling and Contact Details
You can discuss about sexuality in general, HIV, sexually transmitted infections and sex between men with us on the phone or make an appointment for a discussion.
Teppo Heikkinen, Planner +358 50 5846269
Veera Leppänen, Planner +358 40 5508558
Sami Tuunainen, Project coordinator +358 40 5524089
You can meet us also in koodi.net chat forum every Wednesday from 1.30pm to 2.30pm and from 3pm to 4pm and on the first Saturday of every month from 7.30pm to 9pm and from 9.30pm to 11pm. (nick: MKT/Hivpoint)
There’s also a possibility to call Hivpoint’s phone counseling service: Mon-Thu at 10:00-15:30 tel. +358 207 465 705