In the UK there are around 100,000 people living with HIV and it is estimated that 1 in 4 people living with HIV do not know that they have the infection, and therefore are at increased risk of passing the virus onto others.
The aim of HIV Testing Week (22 – 29 November) and World AIDS Day (1st December), which Hampshire County Council and Solent Health NHS Trust are backing, is to:
- raise awareness of the importance of being tested
- promote the benefits of being tested
- encourage those most at risk (people from African communities, men who have sex with men, those with multiple sexual partners, those who inject drugs) and their sexual partners to get tested
- increase the number of early HIV diagnoses
The most common way that HIV is passed on is through people having sex without a condom.
Early diagnosis of HIV, timely treatment and support can mean a near-normal life span and better long term health outcomes for those with the condition.
Details of Solent’s Sexual Health Clinics across Hampshire offering free, confidential HIV tests can be found at www.letstalkaboutit.nhs.uk.
To reduce people’s worries about being tested, Solent Health have collated real life stories of Hampshire people living with HIV and what this means today – www.letstalkaboutit.nhs.uk/hivlives.
Tweeters will be introduced to these stories throughout the week, through Solent’s Twitter feed @SolentSHP and by following @solentnhstrust. A new educational pack which explores transmission, treatment, testing and the myths and stigma of HIV, suitable for use with young people, is also available, via www.letstalkaboutit.nhs.uk/hivlives.
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