OVER the last 30 years, the outlook for people with HIV has radically improved.
New treatments mean that very few UK residents now develop serious HIV-related illnesses. Yet there is still room for improvement. In Greater Manchester the ambition is to end all new cases of HIV.
National HIV Testing Week, which starts on Saturday, November 16, is a campaign to promote regular HIV testing among the most-affected population groups in England. This helps reduce the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV and those diagnosed late.
People can live with HIV for a long time without any symptoms. Testing is the only way to know your HIV status, and there are more ways than ever to test – through a sexual health service, your GP, community organisations and online.
Under the slogan “Give HIV the finger: a finger-prick test is all it takes” National HIV Testing Week promotes testing and provides self-sampling kits for high risk groups via the web site www.freetesting.hiv
In Greater Manchester, PaSH (Passionate about Sexual Health) - a collaboration between BHA for Equality, George House Trust and LGBT Foundation - will be increasing opportunities by offering Rapid HIV testing.
For details of free HIV tests across Manchester visit www.gmpash.org.uk/hiv-testing
James Mallion, public health consultant at Tameside Council, said: “We know that there are people diagnosed with HIV in Tameside and it is crucially important that they get their diagnosis as early as possible so they can get access to the highly effective treatments available.
“Those diagnosed late have a much higher risk of severe illness from HIV, which is why we are encouraging as many people as possible who are at risk of HIV to get tested on a regular basis.
“It is also more easy and accessible than ever whether it’s a quick finger-prick with one of the PaSH workers in the community, or using a home-testing kit.”
Last year, Tameside Council came together with its nine Greater Manchester counterparts and key stakeholders to reaffirm the region’s commitment to being a global leader in the fight to end all new cases of HIV within a generation and to support those living with the virus.
Anyone diagnosed with HIV in the UK can get free treatment and support. If you have HIV, ï¬nding out means you can start treatment, stay healthy and avoid passing the virus onto anyone else
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