Spectrum is running drop-in clinics all week to test for HIV across several hospitals and health centres as part of National HIV Testing Week.
National HIV Testing Week is a targeted, high profile national campaign that encourages those most likely to be affected by HIV to consider taking an HIV test. Anyone who has unprotected sex, or could have been exposed to HIV positive blood, could be at risk of contracting the virus.
The aim of National HIV Testing Week, organised by HIV Prevention England, is to increase awareness of HIV and to make testing more readily available to those most at risk in the UK – but also to make HIV testing more publicly accepted. These are all factors which could help increase the number of early diagnoses.
Diagnosing HIV early is incredibly important. HIV attacks cells in the body that fight off infections, and if left untreated it can damage your immune system so much that common infections become life-threatening. It is estimated that around 25% of people with HIV don’t know they have the virus, partly because it is not always accompanied by obvious symptoms – and you could be passing the virus on to others without knowing.
But if diagnosed early, the vast majority of people living with HIV can expect a near-normal life expectancy thanks to the benefits of effective treatment and excellent healthcare, and you can make behavioural changes to prevent transmission of the virus to those close to you.
Spectrum is offering lunchtime drop-in sessions at several health centres and hospitals this week – where anyone can have a Rapid HIV Test, the results of which are available within 15 minutes.
The clinics will run between 12 noon and 1:30pm at King Street Health Centre and Dewsbury & District Hospital from Monday to Friday, and at Pontefract General Infirmary between Monday and Wednesday.
You can also look out for our mobile health and wellbeing unit opposite Burger King at Xscape, Castleford, on Friday 28th November.