NATIONAL HIV Testing Week kicked off on 17 November in Thurrock with a focus on people being able to access free and confidential rapid HIV testing.
Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, will be holding an awareness and information stand at Thurrock Health Centre and will also be providing free and confidential rapid HIV testing..
Anyone can access this free and confidential service by simply dropping in to the Health Centre between 10am and 4pm on Thursday 22 November.
Testing for HIV puts you in control and, thanks to treatment, will stop you from getting seriously ill, enable you to live a normal lifespan and prevent you from passing the virus on to anyone else.
National HIV Testing Week, which runs from Saturday 17 to Friday 23 November, is coordinated by Terrence Higgins Trust on behalf of HIV Prevention England (HPE).
The week encourages people to test for HIV, particularly those from the groups most affected by HIV, including gay and bisexual men and black African men and women.
This year, the campaign is calling on people to ‘Give HIV the finger’ by taking a simple, painless and quick finger prick HIV test.
According to Public Health England, 51.7% of all those newly diagnosed with HIV in Thurrock between 2015-2017 were diagnosed at the late stage.
Laura Horne, Health Promotion Specialist for Thurrock at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: We are pleased to be able to offer the people of Thurrock the opportunity to undertake a simple, free and confidential test as part of National HIV Testing week. Our hope is that by working alongside the Thurrock Health Centre we can inform people about HIV and the advances in testing and treatment.
‘Testing for HIV is quick and easy. If your results come back positive, we can offer all the support, advice and information you need. People living with HIV and on effective treatment can not only live long fulfilled lives after, but they also can’t pass on the virus to others.
‘Effective HIV treatment works by reducing the amount of the virus in the blood to undetectable levels. This means that the levels of HIV become so low that the virus cannot be passed on.
‘Testing is nothing to be feared or embarrassed about. Getting tested regularly should be something we’re all doing in order to protect ourselves.’
Terrence Higgins Trust provides support, information and advice services for those living with HIV and affected by HIV or poor sexual health.
Terrence Higgins Trust Thurrock work as part of the Thurrock Sexual Health Service. Thurrock Sexual Health Service provides full sexual health screening services and access to contraception across the area. To find out more about accessing local sexual health services or Terrence Higgins Trust Rapid HIV testing clinics please visit www.thurrocksexualhealthservice.org.uk or call 0300 303 9970.
For more information about National HIV Testing Week, go to: www.startswithme.org.uk/