Bexley Council encourages HIV testing
PUBLISHED: 10:17 17 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:20 17 November 2014
The council says testing for the disease is quick and easy
As two important HIV related dates arrive in the calendar, Bexley Council want to raise the profile of HIV and AIDS to make sure residents are aware of the risks and provide information on test and prevention.
With European ‘HIV Testing Week’ running between November 21 and 30 and World AIDS Day in December, the council says it is important for Bexley residents to get tested.
HIV remains one the most serious communicable diseases in the UK and across Europe. As a result, an EU-wide promotional campaign aims to encourage more people to test for HIV. In 2013, there were 16 new diagnoses of HIV in Bexley and a total of 370 adult residents of the borough received HIV-related care.
All Bexley GPs and pharmacies have been sent promotional literature to encourage people to ask for an HIV test if they believe they may have put themselves at risk of infection.
Early diagnoses and treatment of HIV means people can live a near normal life span. However, in the UK and Europe late diagnosis is the biggest factor associated with HIV-related complications and death. Free treatment and care is available to everyone in the local community that needs it.
Many GP Practices are offering a confidential and instant finger prick test for HIV. The instant test only takes a minute and is being offered to all patients aged between 15 and 59-years-old at the time they register with a GP, to patients with HIV related symptoms, to groups with identified risks, and any individual who requests it.
If you prefer, you can attend any sexual health clinic (GUM service) for a test, but it may take longer to get your result.
Council cabinet member for community safety and leisure, Alex Sawyer, said; “These dates remind us of the impact of AIDS and HIV on various communities around the world and to think about coming forward for an HIV test if you have been at risk of HIV infection.
“It is important to know your status and get the treatment you need if you have HIV. If you’re negative, you can be given advice and support to ensure you remain that way. If you are positive, you can access appropriate treatment and care that will help you remain healthy and to live a full and productive life.
“It is vital to remember that preventing the transmission of HIV in the first instance should be your top priority.”