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Membership Matters

Take the test for AIDS

To mark World AIDS Day (1 December) Margaret Sentamu, wife of the Archbishop of York, joined staff from York’s sexual health services and charity Yorkshire MESMAC to highlight the importance of taking a HIV test.  Demonstrating how simple a HIV test can be Margaret took a finger prick test where the result is given within 20 minutes.

Speaking about World AIDS Day, Margaret said: “It’s important to raise awareness not just for one day, but all year round of the importance of getting tested.  There have been fantastic advances in medication which means people can now live a completely normal life, particularly when they get an early diagnosis.

“Understandably people may be nervous about taking a test but you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Late diagnosis can be devastating, so be brave and go forward - do not fear the test.”

Latest figures reveal that late diagnosis of HIV means that people in York and North Yorkshire can spend an average of three to five years living with HIV before they are diagnosed.  Dr Ian Fairley, Clinical Director for Sexual Health Services, explained: “There are over 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK and around a quarter of them don’t know they’re HIV positive.

“Effective HIV therapy not only keeps the individual well but it also prevents them from passing the virus onto others.

“If someone with HIV is diagnosed early and is able to access treatment then their life expectancy is as good as if they were HIV negative.”

YorSexualHealth runs 27 clinics each week across the whole of York and North Yorkshire.  Find out more about HIV and how to get tested, including a free confidential postal testing kit, by visiting the sexually transmitted infections page on their website, www.yorsexualhealth.org.uk

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