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HIV tests offered to prevent late diagnosis
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. And alarmingly, the majority of new HIV infections can be traced back to someone who was living with HIV but not diagnosed.
YorSexualHealth, the sexual health services for York and North Yorkshire, is backing the latest HIV testing campaign, ‘Give HIV the finger: a finger prick test is all it takes’, organised by HIV Prevention England.
National HIV Testing Week (17-23 November) promotes regular testing among the most affected population groups and to reduce the rates of undiagnosed people and those diagnosed late.
Dr Ian Fairley, Clinical Director for YorSexualHealth, explained: “It is thought that one in eight people with HIV do not know they have it. With early diagnosis and effective treatment a person with HIV can expect a normal life expectancy, whereas late diagnosis leads to a tenfold increase of death within one year.
“HIV testing is crucial. It identifies those who are undiagnosed and enables people to start effective treatment immediately. This prevents potential illness and protects their sexual partners from HIV infection.
“Those living with HIV on medication are not at risking of passing it on to others. We are concerned that there are people in York and North Yorkshire who are being diagnosed late, along with others who do not know that they have HIV.”
YorSexualHealth offers free and confidential HIV testing in sexual health clinics across North Yorkshire and York, as well as the option of ordering a home sampling kit online. The point-of-care HIV tests are screening tests that provide immediate results on finger stick blood specimens. Test results are available within just 20 minutes.
Testing is also available in a range of community settings through YorSexualHealth’s partnership with Yorkshire Mesmac. Check out their website www.mesmac.co.uk for drop-in testing sessions available throughout the week or book a test.
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
22 November 2018