Give HIV the finger during HIV testing week

Hounslow Council is working in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) to support HIV testing week.

Published: Thursday, 15th November 2018

Image of a red ribbon.

Hounslow Council is working in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) to support HIV testing week as part of its ongoing support of the London’s Fast-Track Cities initiative to reduce the rate of new HIV infections.

This year, National HIV Testing Week runs from Saturday 17 to Friday 23 November 2018.

Now in its sixth year, the week-long campaign – ‘Give HIV the finger’ – promotes HIV testing with the ease of a finger prick test to check your HIV status. The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test, as symptoms of HIV may not appear for many years. Sexually active people across Hounslow are being urged to take a quick and simple test to find out their HIV status to enable them to seek early treatment if needed. Anyone can go along for a free, simple and confidential HIV test, and receive their result within 15 minutes. An early HIV diagnosis and treatment can help people to live up to a normal lifespan or similar.

Councillor Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Workforce, Hounslow Council, said: “HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was, but it remains a dangerous disease if left undiagnosed.

“Early diagnosis is crucial both to stop the spread of the disease and to begin treatment as early as possible.

 “If you may have been exposed to HIV, we encourage you to take up this offer of a test during national testing week. You can also get tested throughout the year at a range  of health centres in Hounslow.”

The campaign raises awareness of the importance of HIV testing, as well as increasing opportunities to test – be it in clinical settings, in primary care, through community-based rapid testing or via postal testing. The ultimate goal is to increase regular HIV testing in the most affected groups.

Hounslow’s HIV diagnosed prevalence rate is 3.70 per 1000 among persons aged 15-59 years. 37.2 per cent of all new HIV infections (15 years and above) were diagnosed late in Hounslow. Therefore, it is important to test regularly if you have had unprotected sex.

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The virus attacks the immune system and weakens your ability to fight infections and disease.

There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, when your body can no longer fight life-threatening infections.

With early diagnosis and effective treatment, most people with HIV will not go on to develop AIDS.

Anyone wanting to have a test can visit the walk-in clinic at one of three sexual health clinics in Hounslow

  1. West Middlesex University hospital in Isleworth TW7 6AF (Walk-in Monday-Friday)
  2. Heart of Hounslow centre for health TW3 3EL (Walk-in Monday-Friday)
  3. Feltham centre for health TW13 4GU (Walk-in Monday-Wednesday)

For more information about local sexual health services, including opening times visit www.sexualhealthhounslow.org.uk

Testing for HIV is free, fast, confidential and simple – you can now even do it at home. Free self-sampling HIV test kits are available for Hounslow residents, visit www.test.hiv to order your kit.

Testing is good for YOU

The sooner you find out you have HIV, the better it is for your health. If you have HIV for a long time without knowing, it can damage your health and shorten your life. It’s a good idea to test at least once a year (or more if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner). Most people get HIV from someone who doesn’t know they have it – the only way to be sure is to get tested.

Get tested and do your bit to stop HIV in Hounslow by getting tested. Find out:

For more information visit www.hivpreventionengland.org.uk

To find additional HIV testing services visit www.startswithme.org.uk

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