As the UK marks National HIV Testing Week and World AIDS day, LASS joins with De Montfort University to help reduce the number of people being diagnosed late with HIV by offering free, confidential HIV tests every day on campus at DMU and weekly, after HIV testing week on a permanent basis.
HIV is no longer a life threatening condition, the earlier it is detected the easier it is to manage and get treated- which also makes the risk of passing on the virus to others much lower. In fact, a person living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load does not transmit the virus to their partners.
Leicester has the highest rate of late diagnosis of HIV in the East Midlands (56.9%). The average late diagnoses rate for England is 41.1%.
LASS pledges to:
- Making HIV testing easier to access and available in a variety of settings across Leicester and Leicestershire and in community settings
- We want to ensuring there are a variety of ways to test for HIV, including home sampling and finger prick testing;
- We ensuring that people diagnosed with HIV are quickly referred to the right care to improve health and prevent onward transmission
- We work collaboratively with others to reduce the stigma that has been associated with HIV
Rusi Jaspal (Professor of Sexual Health at DMU) Said:
“I am keen to help shift attitudes towards HIV testing so that people see this as a routine blood test like any other. HIV testing is key to both prevention and effective care. My own research shows that one reason people at risk of HIV do not test is the social stigma that surrounds it. By having an HIV test on camera, I wanted to challenge this stigma and demonstrate to viewers that the HIV rapid test is quick, easy and painless, which will hopefully encourage others to test during National HIV Testing Week”.
Alastair Hudson (CEO at LASS) Said:
“Within the UK we are living at one of the most exciting times in the HIV response with free open access to testing, prevention, treatment and care. At LASS HIV testing is central to our work and we are thrilled to be working closely to support staff and students at DMU to raise awareness and support HIV prevention. We look forward to meeting you on campus”.
Cllr Adam Clarke (Deputy City Mayor – Environment, Public Health & Health Integration and
Councillor for Aylestone) said: ‘‘We need to celebrate that medical advances mean that once you know you have HIV if you take your medication you will live as a long life as anyone else. Testing early makes this possible and we would encourage people to take the variety of free tests available across Leicester’.
HIV The Facts:
- There are an estimated 89,400 people living with HIV in the UK
- Of these, around 10,400 are undiagnosed so do not know they are HIV positive.
- Late diagnosis remains a key challenge. In 2016 42% of diagnoses happened at a late stage of infection.
- The UK has made significant progress in antiretroviral treatment coverage in recent decades. 96% of those diagnosed are now accessing treatment and 94% are virally suppressed.
- Of the 5,164 people diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2016, 54% were gay or bisexual men.
- Of the 2,110 heterosexual people diagnosed with HIV in 2016, 39% were black African men and women.
- There is also evidence that awareness and knowledge around HIV is dropping in the UK. A recent survey found that only 45% of the population could correctly identify all the ways in which HIV is and isn’t transmitted.
This is why it is important to understand the facts and get tested for HIV. Together, we can make a difference in Leicester, Leicestershire and the East Midlands.
Pop up testing clinic will be held at:
The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH
10:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 15:00 between Monday 19th to Thursday 22rd November 2018.
10:00 – 12:00 on Friday, 23rd November 2018.