After last year’s successful National HIV Testing Week, it’s now established as a permanent part of the HIV prevention calendar.
New figures show there are over 1000 people living within Leicester and Leicestershire (757 city residents and 251 from Leicestershire)
Dr Fu-Meng Khaw, centre director for Public Health England in the East Midlands, said:
“People who are unaware of their infection are likely to be those most at risk of transmitting HIV to others. “Earlier diagnosis will help reduce new HIV infections across the UK.”
Jenny Hand, chief executive of Leicestershire AIDS Support Services, said:
“The big message we need to get out is that people need to know their status. Getting a test is the one thing they can do right now to help stop the spread of HIV.”
We are working with Public Health England to extend the number of testing opportunities over the week. One of the aims is increase the uptake of testing in the different African communities in Leicester.
The figures are only an indication of how many people are affected by HIV.”
Mike Sandys, Leicestershire County Council‘s acting director of public health, said:
“This is a good initiative. We need to encourage people to test because, in the vast majority of cases, HIV is passed on by someone who doesn’t yet know they have the virus. Modern drug treatments drive down the level of virus in the body, often to an undetectable level.
This means someone with HIV who has tested positive and is on treatment is far less likely to pass on the virus than who someone who does not yet know they have it. So if everyone is tested, we could start to see new infections fall among our communities.”
Ms Hand also said:
“We hope the national week will help to really convince people they should know their status. The test is a finger prick for blood and the results take 60 seconds.
HIV is now considered a long-term condition and not a terminal illness. The biggest issue is still around stigma and discrimination.”
We’re also on hand to provide information and advice on a range of subjects including tuberculosis, HIV awareness and Sexual health.
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