Sexual Health Providers across Wakefield District are raising awareness about HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) during National HIV Testing Week (NHTW). Spectrum Community Health, along with partner organisations, is urging people to take the test to know their HIV status.
It’s important to get tested and diagnosed to ensure that treatment can begin early, improving your chance of avoiding further health complications. Testing is readily available from a range of sources, including sexual health clinics. If you are concerned about contracting HIV, get tested as soon as possible.
Now in its fifth year, National HIV Testing Week (NHTW) is co-ordinated by HIV Prevention England (HPE) with support and participation from organisations in the public, statutory and private sectors. This year the week will run from 19th–25th November with focus on individual responsibility of preventing and testing for HIV. Spectrum is partnering with Terrence Higgins Trust, Yorkshire MESMAC, Mountain Healthcare, Marie Stopes and British Pregnancy Advisory Service to raise awareness about HIV during this week.
Various online and outreach activities are planned for the week including free testing services at various locations. Testing will be available at
- Tuesday, 22nd November – look out for the health-pod in Ossett market. Spectrum’s team will be there from 10 am to 4 pm to give you information and advice on HIV and how & where to get tested.
- Wednesday 23rd November – Free testing from 11am to 4pm offered by Terrence Higgins Trust at Kinsley & Fitzwilliam Community Resource Centre, Wakefield Road, Fitzwilliam, WF9 5BP.
- Wednesday 23rd November – Fact or Fiction evening from 6 to 9 pm hosted by Yorkshire MESMAC. Silly prizes and free pizza will be provided to all who attend. All over 16s are welcome. HIV testing will be available both before and after the event.
- Friday, 25th November – Homeless Clinic/ coffee at Marsh Way House, 10 Arundel Cl, Wakefield WF1 3LF from 11am- 12.30 pm. Free advice on HIV for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Wakefield.
- Friday, 25th November – HIV awareness session and contraception advice for youth at The Hut Youth club from 6- 8pm.
- Thursday, 1st December (World AIDS) – Drop in and get HIV test for free at Rainbow Hub, 26 Duke of York Ave, Portobello, Wakefield, WF2 7YB anytime between 3-5pm
Students at Wakefield College, Wakefield City Campus and Castleford Campus as well as students at Barnsley College can visit the stalls set-up by Spectrum and THT during this week for free advice and testing.
As part of this campaign, people across the country can now order free home HIV testing kits from 7th November 2016 to 7th January 2017. These kits can be ordered online at https://www.test.hiv/ by simply providing a few details on the website.
Speaking about HIV testing, Belinda Loftus, Spectrum’s Head of Sexual Health Services said,
“HIV can be found in people who are fit and well, as symptoms can take years to develop. The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test. Early detection and timely diagnosis can help reduce the chances of developing AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). National HIV Testing week provides the perfect opportunity to encourage people to get tested more often. Every individual has to take personal responsibility for their own sexual health and not wait for their partner to get tested.”
As part of this campaign, Spectrum will be running online quizzes on Facebook and Twitter every day from 19th – 25th November between 5 to 6 pm. If you would like to take part in these quizzes, please visit twitter.com/SpectrumSharp and www.facebook.com/SpectrumSHARP/
According to Public Health England’s (PHE) annual report on HIV published in October 2016, the number of people diagnosed with HIV during the past year has remained similar to previous years. In 2015, a total of 6,095 people (4,551 men and 1,537 women) were diagnosed with HIV in the UK. 39% of these new diagnoses were reported in heterosexual people, with 1,010 men and 1,350 women infected by the virus. Sexual health providers in Wakefield are now urging people get tested for HIV irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation.
The report also highlights that 39% of adults infected with HIV were diagnosed at late stage of infection in 2015. People who have been living with an undiagnosed HIV infection for at least three years are at risk of health complications and of transmitting the virus to their sexual partners. HIV is passed on through infected bodily fluids so you can’t catch HIV from coughing or sneezing. But you can get HIV:
- by having sex without a condom, with someone who has HIV
- by sharing infected needles or injecting drug equipment
- from an infected mother to her baby, during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
- by infected blood
- through oral sex or sharing sex toys (although the risk is significantly lower than for anal and vaginal sex)
You can’t get HIV from everyday social contact such as shaking hands, kissing, sharing toilet seats, going to swimming pools, sharing cutlery. The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is by anal or vaginal sex without a condom.
Take the Test at:
Spectrum Community Health
To learn more about HIV and getting tested please visit Spectrum Community Health’s sexual health clinic at Trinity Walk Shopping Centre. The clinic is located behind Asda Living at the centre and its opening times are:
Monday 08:00 – 19:00
Tuesday 08:00 – 19:00
Wednesday 08:00 – 19:00
Thursday 08:00 – 19:00
Friday 08:00 – 17:00
Saturday 09:00 – 12:30
To make an appointment please phone 01924 327586. You can also avail the walk-in services which run Mon to Fri 8:15am – 12pm. In addition, members of the public can also visit Spectrum’s community-based clinics across the Wakefield District, to find out which clinic is closest to you please visit sexual-health.co.uk
You can also get your free HIV test at MESMAC. Yorkshire MESMAC is the HIV prevention charity in Wakefield District. To book a free, rapid and confidential HIV test appointment online, including evenings and weekends: http://www.mesmac.co.uk/find-help/hiv/hiv-testing/book-a-hiv-test?step=2&location=Wakefield or visit them at 12 Cheapside, Wakefield, WF1 2SD.
In addition, Yorkshire MESMAC is offering HIV testing at the following times and locations:
|Saturday 19th Nov||9am to 5pm||Mesmac Office Wakefield,|
|7pm to 10pm||The New Union, 2 Almsgate, Wakefield WF1 1UZ|
|Sunday 20th Nov||11am to 2pm||Mesmac Office Wakefield,|
|Monday 21st Nov||7am to 4pm||Mesmac Office Wakefield,|
|Tuesday 22nd Nov||9am to 5pm||Mesmac Office Wakefield,|
|4pm to 7pm||Castlleford Heritage Trust, 1 Aire Street Castleford WF10 1JL|
|8pm to 10pm||The New Union, 2 Almsgate, Wakefield WF1 1UZ|
|Wednesday 23rd Nov||9am to 6.30pm||Mesmac Office Wakefield,|
|Thursday 24th Nov||5pm to 8pm||Mesmac Office Wakefield,|
|4pm to 7pm||St Mary’s Community Centre,|
|Friday 25th Nov||9am to 5pm||Mesmac Office Wakefield,|
|7pm to 9pm||The New Union, 2 Almsgate, Wakefield WF1 1UZ|
|Saturday 26th Nov||9am to 5pm||Mesmac Office Wakefield,|
|7pm to 10pm||The New Union, 2 Almsgate, Wakefield WF1 1UZ|
The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) provides HIV testing services – out of normal working hours and at community clinics. You can also get tested at Terrence Higgins Trust’s clinics listed below
Rainbow Hub, Portobello—First Thursday of every month, 3pm-5pm
The Hut, Airedale– Last Friday of every month, 6pm-8pm
Platform One, Hemsworth— First Wednesday of every month, 3pm-5.30pm
Unit 1, Kinsley & Fitzwilliam, Community Resource Centre, Wakefield Road, Kinsley, Pontefract, WF9 5BP