Events highlight HIV testing week

A SERIES of events taking place across Leicester will help encourage people to get an HIV test.

The events are being held to mark HIV Testing Week (21-28 November), in the run-up to World Aids Day on Tuesday December 1.

In addition, Leicester City Council, voluntary sector partners and MPs will be signing the ‘halve it pledge’ this week.   The national pledge commits the city to halve late HIV diagnoses by 2020. It will do this by:

• Making HIV testing easier to access and available in a variety of settings in the NHS, HIV charities and patient groups;
• Ensuring there are a variety of ways to test for HIV, including home sampling and finger prick testing;
• Ensuring that people diagnosed with HIV are quickly referred to the right care to improve health and prevent onward transmission;
• Working together to reduce the stigma that has been associated with HIV.

To mark HIV Testing Week, many organisations across the city are offering rapid HIV testing. These are free, drop-in testing sessions, with results available quickly, sometimes the same day.

Leicestershire Aids Support Service (LASS) will be holding rapid testing sessions each day this week until Thursday, from 9.30am until 4.30pm and Friday 9.30am until 2.30pm. The service is based at 53 Regent Road.

TRADE sexual health charity will be offering a drop-in service for rapid HIV testing at their offices at floor 2, 27 Bowling Green Street, until Friday this week, between 10am until 6pm each day. They will also be offering testing on Saturday, between 10am and 4pm.

Assistant city mayor Cllr Abdul Osman is executive lead for public health for Leicester. He said: “Taking an HIV test is really important, especially if you belong to a high-risk group.

“HIV testing is quick free and easy. We would urge people who think that they may have contracted HIV to take a test.

“It’s better to know and get treatment early. Testing and treatment remain confidential and available via the NHS.

“We are pleased to be working with these specialist organisations to raise awareness of the sexual health services that we offer in the city.“

A service of reflection to mark World Aids Day 2015 will take place at St Margaret’s Church on Saturday 28th November, between noon and 12:45pm.

TRADE will also be hosting an interactive exhibition at their offices to celebrate World AIDS Day on Tuesday 1st December, between 5pm and 9pm.

For more details, visit the sexual health page at http://www.leicester.gov.uk/ourhealthycity

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