Tag Archives: National HIV testing

LASS marks National HIV Testing Week in Leicester with a range of HIV Testing opportunities

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LASS is planning a number of events in Leicester to mark the third annual National HIV Testing Week (22nd – 30th November).

National HIV Testing Week was established by HIV Prevention England in 2012, in a bid to reduce high levels of undiagnosed and late-diagnosed HIV among gay and bisexual men and Africans in England. In 2013, there were an estimated 1250 people living with HIV in Leicester & Leicestershire, one in five of whom remain undiagnosed and therefore more likely to pass the virus on unwittingly.

LASS and its regional partners in the HPE contract are extending the number and range of testing opportunities for people during National HIV Testing Week. Celia Fisher of LASS says: “Our aim is to increase the uptake of HIV testing within the different African communities in Leicester, as well as other communities. Our experience shows that by making HIV testing more accessible in different social & community venues it has become more acceptable and we always have a queue.”

LASS will be offering Rapid HIV Testing at LASS on Saturday 22nd & Saturday 29th November from 9.30 – 12:  the ideal opportunity for people who do not have time during the week. We are also offering Couples testing on both days – so you can get tested together and share your results.

We will be offering HIV Testing at Club Oxygen on Wharf Street on Saturday 29th November from 5 – 8pm.

Weekday testing is available every day at LASS from 9.30 – 4.30 – so you can drop in anytime if that suits you.

National HIV Testing Week is supported by major public health bodies, including Public Health England, the British HIV Association (BHIVA), and the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH).

To get involved in this year’s National HIV Testing Week, visit http://www.StartsWithMe.org.uk. For further information on National HIV Testing Week events in Leicester please contact Celia Fisher (celia@lass.org.uk).

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National HIV Testing Week – 4 Days To Go!!

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4 DAYS TO GO!!!

You know you’ve been thinking about getting a test for HIV for ages – so this is the week to do it! – along with many others across the region, country and in Europe.

Our HIV testing service will be available at a range of settings and events during National HIV Testing week:

Saturday 23rd November 9:30 – 11: We will offer testing at LASS for those who can’t access the service during the week. You can also pick up condoms and information to prepare for the Saturday night out! (Let us know what you’re up to in the comments)!

Monday 25th November 11 – 3: Health & Well being event at LASS. Other health checks and information will be available including Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, BMI.

Tuesday 26th November 11.30 – 2 : University of Leicester Students Union as part of World AIDS Day awareness.

Wednesday 27th November 4 – 8: Oxygen Club, Wharf Street

Thursday 28th November 4 – 8: Oxygen Club, Wharf Street

Friday 29th November   4 – 8:  Oxygen Club, Wharf Street

Friday 29th November 3-5:  ZAS drop in @ Secular Hall, Humberstone Gate

Our office based Rapid HIV testing will be available everyday during the week from 9:30 – 16:00.  Drop in at 53 Regent Road, Leicester, LE1 6YF (Map) or call us on 0116 2559995.

Check out the details of HIV Testing week and remember, you can pop in to LASS for a free and confidential rapid HIV test.  It only takes a few minutes to get the result.  Call us on 0116 2559995 if you’re interested.

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Audit shows many high HIV prevalence areas in England are failing to expand HIV testing

HIV TESTING

Most sexual health commissioners for areas in England with a high HIV prevalence have introduced some form of expanded HIV testing, a study published in the online edition of HIV Medicine shows. However, only a small minority were following national guidance, with just a third having commissioned testing for new registrants in general practice and 14% commissioning testing for people admitted to hospital.

“The results of this audit confirm that routine HIV testing in these settings has been commissioned in only a minority of high-prevalence areas”, comment the authors. “Prioritizing the introduction of routine testing in these settings will be necessary to fully implement national testing guidelines.”

Late diagnosis of HIV is a major concern in the UK. Approximately half of people newly diagnosed with HIV have a CD4 cell count below the threshold for the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (350 cells/mm3) recommended by the British HIV Association (BHIVA) and between a fifth and a quarter of all HIV infections are undiagnosed. Improving HIV diagnosis rates is key to strategies to reduce rates of HIV-related illness and also the continued spread of the virus.

National HIV testing guidelines were issued in 2008 and were endorsed in 2011 by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). These recommend that HIV testing should be expanded beyond traditional settings (sexual health clinics and antenatal services) in areas with a high HIV prevalence – an infection rate of above 2 per 1000. In these circumstances, the guidelines recommend the universal testing of all patients newly registering with a GP, the screening of all new medical admissions to hospital and targeted outreach programmes.

Investigators wanted to assess the level of adherence to these guidelines and to see if there were any obstacles to the expansion of testing.

Between May and June 2012, the investigators contacted sexual health commissioners in the 40 English primary care trusts (PCTs) with a HIV prevalence above 2 per 1000. There was an 88% response rate (35 of 40).

All the respondents were aware of the testing guidelines and the majority (80%; 23 of 35) has introduced some form of expanded testing.

In most cases, this was testing in the community (51%; 18 of 35), followed by testing in general practice (49%; 17 of 35) and testing in hospitals (37%; 13 of 35). However, only four PCTs (11%) had commissioned expanded testing services in all three settings.

Areas with especially high prevalence were more likely to have commissioned services. All but one of the PCTs with a prevalence above 5 per 1000 (92%, 11 of 12) had commissioned some form of expanded testing. More worryingly, a third of PCTs with background prevalence between 2-3 per 1000 had commissioned any form of expanded testing and only 33% had introduced testing at GPs, with just one commissioning testing in hospitals.

When the investigators examined adherence to the specific recommendations of the guidelines, they found that only 31% of PCTs (11 of 35) had commissioned routine testing of new registrants at GPs. Moreover, only a small minority (10 to 20%) of GP practices in these areas participated in expanded testing. In a fifth of PCTs, testing was limited to high-risk groups. PCTs in London, compared to PCTs elsewhere in England, were somewhat more likely to have commissioned the routine testing of new GP registrants (38 vs 18%). HIV testing was incorporated into general sexual health screening at GPs in 17% of PCTs (6 of 35).

An even lower proportion of PCTs had commissioned the routine testing of new admissions to hospital (14%; 5 of 35).

Over half of PCTs (51%) had commissioned community testing via outreach programmes carried out by charities and the voluntary sector. This testing targeted high-risk or marginalised populations including men who have sex with men (six PCTs), African people (four), sex workers (two), people who inject drugs (one) and the homeless (one). Settings for community testing included saunas, polyclinics, pharmacies, prisons, churches and health centres.

Almost all PCTs (94%; 33 of 35) cited lack of resources as a barrier to introducing expanded testing, with two-thirds (23 of 35) also stating that the re-organisation of the NHS was an obstacle. Approximately 75% of commissioners (26 of 35) expected the rate of HIV testing carried out in their area to increase over the next year. None expected a decrease.

“Modelling of the UK HIV epidemic has shown that higher rates of testing combined with timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy can result in reduced HIV incidence”, write the authors. They note that most respondents had introduced some form of expanded testing, “however, only a minority covered the two medical settings mentioned in national testing guidelines…new registrants in general practice…and general medical admissions.” The authors conclude that recent organisational changes in the NHS make it important to monitor “changes in the commissioning of testing over time”.

HIV TESTING WEEK

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Did you know it’s National HIV Testing week from 25th? – If you’ve never had a HIV Test and had sex at least once, without a condom, then YOU need a test!

Check out the details of HIV Testing week and remember, you can pop in to LASS for a free and confidential rapid HIV test.  It only takes a few minutes to get the result.  Call us on 0116 2559995 if you’re interested.

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