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Go for HIV test, Africans urged as THT launches National HIV Testing Week

HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust will in November launch England’s first ever National HIV Testing Week.

The week, which will run from 23rd to 30th November, is being co-ordinated through HIV Prevention England (HPE), a partnership of community organisations funded by the Department of Health to carry out national HIV prevention work in England among communities at an increased risk of infection.

It forms the centrepiece of HPE’s autumn campaign “Think HIV”, which aims to encourage Africans in England to test for the virus.

The initiative follows the release of new guidance from the Department of Health stating that, as of October this year, anyone with HIV in the UK can access treatment for free on the NHS, regardless of their immigration status.

To take part in the campaign, Africans can visit www.thinkHIV.org.uk and complete a short survey to receive personalised advice about testing for HIV.

Africans are one of the groups most at risk of HIV in England. However, one in four Africans with HIV currently remains undiagnosed. Someone who is diagnosed late, after a point at which they should have already started treatment, is nine times more likely to die within a year of receiving their diagnosis than someone who tests in good time. Yet among Africans diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2010, 66 per cent of men and 61 per cent of women were diagnosed late, when they should already have started treatment.

Takudzwa Mukiwa, Health Promotion Specialist for African communities at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “National HIV Testing Week is a great chance to remind Africans in England that while HIV is no longer a death sentence, an early diagnosis can dramatically improve someone’s chances. In the past, knowing they would be ineligible for treatment on the NHS may have put some Africans off going for an HIV test, but the release of new guidelines opening up free NHS treatment for everyone living with HIV in England means there really is no better time to test.”

Paul Ward, Deputy Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We believe it is within our grasp to halt the spread of HIV, and Africans are a key group with the power to help drive that effort. That’s why we need the whole community to get behind this new initiative and turn a spotlight on HIV testing, not just during testing week but all year round.”

Terrence Higgins Trust will be providing free and confidential rapid HIV testing in London throughout the National HIV Testing Week.

Testing will be done using a finger-prick blood test, which returns a result within a minute.

Those who attend the clinic will be given information and support before and after the test, and anyone who has a ‘reactive’ test will be referred to a specialist clinic.

Terrence Higgins Trust staff will also provide free condoms, and information and advice on safer sex.

People who want to enquire about Terrence Higgins Trust’s testing services in London during testing week can call 020 7812 1726.

For other questions about HIV testing, people can call Terrence Higgins Trust’s helpline THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 or visit www.tht.org.uk.

WHERE THT WILL BE OFFERING HIV TESTS IN LONDON

Friday 23rd November

Edridge Road Community Health Centre
Impact House
2 Edridge Road
Croydon
CR9 1PJ
14:00 – 18.00

Saturday 24th November

Eaststreet
20 East Street
Barking
IG11 8EU
12:30 – 15:30

Monday 26th November

Lighthouse West London
111 – 117 Lancaster Road
Ladbroke Grove
London
W11 1QT
17:00 – 20:00

Cricket Green Surgery
75-79 Miles Road
Mitcham
Surrey
CR4 3DA
14:00 – 20:00

Wednesday 28th November

Cheam Family Practice
The Knoll
Parkside, Cheam
Sutton
Surrey
SM3 8BS
14:00 – 18:00

Thursday 29th November

Cricket Green Surgery
75-79 Miles Road
Mitcham
Surrey
CR4 3DA
14.00 – 20.00

Friday 30th November

Edridge Road Community Health Centre
Impact House
2 Edridge Road
Croydon
CR9 1PJ
14:00 – 18:00

Lighthouse West London
111 – 117 Lancaster Road
Ladbroke Grove
London
W11 1QT
14:00 – 20:00
 

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