Free HIV tests are available in Tameside in a bid to reduce the number of people diagnosed late with the condition.
The tests will be available throughout National HIV Testing Week from 17 – 23 November at the Tameside Sexual Health Clinic, The Orange Rooms, Old Street, Ashton, and also at Twinkle Bar, Stalybridge, on 22 November between 12pm and 4pm.
Testing is easy and accessible either by visiting these two locations, ordering a kit which can be sent home or attending a testing event. Details of places to test, including additional opportunities during National HIV Testing Week and to order a home test kit, can be found on https://www.startswithme.org.uk/.
Testing for HIV is necessary to diagnose and manage the condition and also prevent it from spreading. On average, nearly 40% of people are diagnosed with the infection at a late stage and this can lead to an increased likelihood of poorer outcomes and unnecessary deaths.
In total, 1 in 8 people do not know they have HIV and being diagnosed early will lead to a normal life expectancy. However, late diagnosis leads to a tenfold increase of death within one year. Those who are undiagnosed spend an average of three to five years unaware they have the virus.
Anyone who is diagnosed with HIV in Tameside can access free NHS treatment and support which is provided at The Orange Rooms, on Old Street in Ashton.
Early diagnosis also prevents further transmission of the infection and reduces the cost of inpatient admission.
As well as the testing available at locations in the borough, a range of STI home testing kits including for HIV can be ordered for free via The Northern website: www.thenorthernsexualhealth.co.uk .
Cllr Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council, said: “Campaigns like National HIV Testing Week help to raise awareness and reduce infection from serious conditions. While this campaign is only running for a week, individuals can visit The Orange Rooms throughout the year to get tested and the free home test kits will be still be sent out too.
“The more people who get diagnosed early will help to reduce the infection rate in Tameside and beyond.”
For more information and access to testing, visit www.test.hiv.
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