This week is National HIV Testing week, and we’re promoting the message ‘testing saves lives’.
1 in 4 people living with HIV in Calderdale don’t know they have it. This could be because some people choose not to get tested, they don’t think it could happen to them or they don’t know how it can be passed on.
Anyone could be at risk, but being tested for HIV is quick, easy and could save your life. There are lots of options available, from seeing your own GP, attending one of Calderdale Council’s sexual health clinics (http://sexualhealth.cht.nhs.uk/think-sexual-health/(external link)) or visiting the Brunswick Centre (http://www.thebrunswickcentre.org.uk/hiv-testing(external link)).
NHS England is now also offering home sampling, where a kit will be sent to your home with a postal return address. The kits are small and discreet with no identifying markings or logos and the test can easily be conducted at home. To check your eligibility for a home test, visit www.test.hiv(external link).
The earlier that HIV is detected, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful. Early treatment also means someone can still live a normal healthy life with HIV and also reduce the spread of the disease with good condom use.
Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Paul Butcher, said:
“In Calderdale, although we have a relatively low rate of HIV, we unfortunately have a higher late diagnosis rate, resulting in poor prognosis for the patient. It’s so important to get tested especially as early diagnosis and HIV treatment allows someone with HIV to live a normal healthy life and prevents onward transmission.”
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health Inequalities, Cllr Faisal Shoukat, said:
“Many people still choose not to get tested, perhaps due to the fear of stigma surrounding HIV, but there are lots of options available for testing and support across Calderdale.”
For more information about sexual health services and advice in Calderdale, visit www.calderdale.gov.uk and search for sexual health. To find out if you’re HIV aware, why not take the quiz at www.hivawarequiz.org.uk/quiz-4/about-you(external link)