Bexley residents encouraged to take part in National HIV Testing Week
PUBLISHED: 16:26 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:26 21 November 2017
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Not being tested can increase the risk of the sexually-transmitted virus being passed on
Bexley residents are being encouraged to take up HIV testing services after figures have shown that late diagnosis “is an issue” in the area.
Although HIV prevalence in Bexley is currently just under three per 1,000, Bexley Council have warned that late diagnosis - or when someone only finds out they are HIV positive when the virus is already making them ill - greatly impacts health outcomes and increases the risk of the sexually-transmitted virus being passed on unknowingly.
Cabinet member for community safety, environment and leisure, Peter Craske said: “It’s really important to get the message across about the benefits of regular testing for those at risk and how easy it is to do. It is also important that those who are worried that they might have contracted the disease know that there is easy and accessible help out there. The earlier HIV is diagnosed the better.”
Free home testing kits are available to residents from www.bexleysexualhealth.org or www.test.hiv, in GP surgeries and in dedicated sexual health clinics.
Dr Anjan Ghosh, Bexley’s Director of Public Health said: “The treatment for HIV infection is now so good that if diagnosed early enough, you can expect to have a near-normal lifespan. And once successfully on treatment, you cannot pass the infection on. If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV infection we encourage you to take a test during National HIV Testing Week.”
National HIV Testing Week is underway now and runs until 24 November.