The city of Leicester has the fastest-rising HIV rate in the east Midlands and the sixth-highest in the country.
Meanwhile, in 2009/10, national research demonstrated that community testing was effective in delivering tests to those at risk, preventing late diagnosis and thereby reducing onward transmission. As there was no such community testing service in Leicester, we set about creating one!
It is the training of our volunteers which makes the project unique as a method of engaging with specific African communities which are considered to have a high need. As well as delivering courses to train volunteers to carry out tests among Zimbabwean and Congolese community groups, we also provide a safe and confidential place for people to receive a test.
Our volunteers have created a 50-second advert promoting the value of knowing your HIV status in 15 languages.
We have delivered more than 400 tests, more than half of which are to the BME communities in the region. While the first phase of the project involved delivering tests only from our building, funding has ensured we can use our van to take testing to more venues across Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland.
We have been nominated for a major national prize at the UK charity sector’s most prestigious awards scheme, The Charity Awards. Shortlisted in the Healthcare & Medical Research category, we are hoping to pick up the coveted award at an awards ceremony taking place right now in London and attended by personalities including comedian Hugh Dennis, author Monica Ali, star of Strictly Come Dancing Bruno Tonioli and newsreaders Krishnan Guru Murthy and Andrea Catherwood.
Winning an award is cause for celebration, and we believe that even being nominated is reason to celebrate so stay tuned for details of our celebration party!