“Getting tested vital” in Bradford district during HIV Testing Week

Encouraging more people to have a quick and simple HIV test is one of the key aims of National HIV Testing Week (22-30 November) across the district.

The week also aims to have the tests accepted as part of a standard sexual health check and reduce the stigma around having the HIV virus.

Events are being held in City Park with activities also taking place in the City Library on Saturday 29 November by Bradford Council, British Red Cross, MESMAC and the Bradford Youth Development Partnership.

The HALE bus will be in City Park offering heath information and advice with a quiz and family craft activities also taking place. Anyone wanting to be tested for HIV a can also have a quick and simple test in a discreet temporary clinic.

There will be an event in City Park on Monday 1 December for World Aids Day as well. MESMAC will also be holding a number of HIV testing clinics around the district during the week

Dr Anne Connolly, clinical specialty lead for sexual health for the local NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs): Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven,BradfordCityand Bradford Districts, said:

“It’s really important to remember that HIV hasn’t gone away. The awareness week is not about scaring people: it’s about making HIV testing a normal thing to do, and encouraging more people to be sure of their status by having a test.

“You can only be certain you have HIV if you have a blood test that looks specifically for the virus. Many people newly infected with HIV have no signs or symptoms at all, so the only way to find out if you have HIV is to have a blood test.

“The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can start to take care of yourself. If it’s a negative result, you can protect yourself against HIV in the future and if it’s positive, you can start life-saving treatment and avoid spreading the virus to someone else.

“Access to HIV care in theUKis excellent and treatments are much more successful than they used to be, enabling people with HIV to lead as normal a life as possible. Having a test can also encourage people to have a full sexual health check-up to make sure they’ve not put themselves at risk of other infections.”

Nicola Corrigan, Sexual Health lead for Bradford Council, said:

“Because treatments have improved so much many people don’t realise HIV is still a issue no matter who you are, and so the best prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is to use a condom and test for STIs after every new partner.

“One-in-four people with HIV don’t actually know they have it but they account for 75 per cent of new transmissions. Only once people know they have HIV can they get treatment and become less infectious.”

To find out where to get a your nearest HIV test visit http://www.aidsmap.com/hiv-test-finder or for more information visit http://www.nhs.uk/

 

ENDS 

For more information, please call Thomas Atcheson on 01274 432020 or email thomas.atcheson@bradford.gov.uk.