Join the fight to beat HIV in Coventry during National HIV testing week, which started on 17 November 2018. Testing for HIV, and encouraging your friends to test too, really does help save lives. A combination of regular testing, HIV treatment and condom use is the key to winning the fight against HIV.
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and weakens the body’s ability to fight infections and disease. Although there is no cure for HIV, treatments are now very effective, enabling people diagnosed with the virus early to live long and healthy lives. People diagnosed at a late stage are ten times more likely to die in the first year after diagnosis and spend an average of 3 to 5 years unaware that they have the virus.
The fear of receiving bad news, as well as the perceived stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, can prevent people from being tested. However, if you are HIV positive, the sooner you take that test and are diagnosed, the sooner you can receive the healthcare and support you need to live a healthy life.
National HIV Testing Week leads into World AIDS Day on 1 December. The day is a chance to reflect on HIV at a global, national and local level and remember those who have lost their lives, but it is also an opportunity to celebrate the fact that many people are living well with HIV which was unthinkable many years ago.
Charlotte Hubbard, Head of Integrated Sexual Health services 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, treatment can be commenced and they can live a good quality of life.”
Councillor Kamran Caan, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport, said: “This is a brilliant campaign that should be supported by everybody. Getting tested for HIV is vital and we should encourage those around us to get tested too.
“To support the eradication of HIV we need to push out the message that all testing will be done in complete confidentiality and that getting diagnosed early means most people will live a long and healthy life.
“I look forward to seeing this campaign progress and to help get HIV diagnosed earlier in Coventry".
So please join the fight to beat HIV once and for all; if you are sexually active take a quick and easy test to help reduce the number of people with undiagnosed HIV in the city who unwittingly may pass on the virus.
You can have a free fingerprick test which will indicate if you have HIV, go to the Coventry City Council website to find out where you can have this test or go to www.test.hiv to see if you are eligible to have a free fingerprick test sent to an address of your choice.
To book a confidential appointment for a free HIV test in Coventry, call 0300 020 0027, visit the Integrated Sexual Health Service on the third floor of City of Coventry Health Centre or visit the Sexual Health page of this website.