National HIV Testing Week (NHTW) started on Saturday 18 November 2017. This year the main focus of the week is to encourage people at risk to come forward for a simple finger prick test.
In the UK people are getting tested more frequently. This is great news, but there are still challenges and in total one in eight people do not know they have HIV.
HIV affects a wide range of communities; evidence suggests that those most at risk are men who have sex with men and people of Black African ethnic origin, although it can affect anyone.
The good news is that, if you are in a high risk group, or think you may be at risk, you can now order a free HIV sampling kit - a simple finger-prick blood test to take in the privacy of your own home. Find out how you can get a test at: www.test.hiv.
You can also have an HIV test at the City of Coventry Health Centre by visiting the Integrated Sexual Health Service based on the third floor. Coventry has one of the highest HIV rates in the West Midlands, so it is important to get tested whichever way is more convenient.
Alison Blair, Clinical Nurse Lead for the HIV service at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “HIV is a treatable long-term medical illness. Early diagnosis prevents people from developing the disease known as AIDs and also unknowingly passing the infection to others. The treatment is simple and free. We therefore urge people to come forward and get a free HIV test. If they are HIV positive, the treatment can be commenced and they can live a good quality of life.”
To book a confidential appointment for an HIV test in Coventry, or to find out where the community screening team are, call 0300 020 0027, visit the Integrated Sexual Health Service on the third floor of City of Coventry Health Centre or look on our website www.covwarkpt.nhs.uk and search ‘sexual health’.
Free HIV testing is also available in nine pharmacies in Coventry. Visit www.besavvy.org.uk for more information.