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NHS team pays tribute for World Aids Day
The YorSexualHealth service, who run clinics across the whole of York and North Yorkshire, is marking World Aids Day on Sunday 1 December by remembering those who lost their lives to the illness.
The team are hosting a memorial quilt that was started by a group of bereaved mothers and partners in North Yorkshire that features a white Yorkshire Rose for each of those who has died. Each rose has a story behind it and many have been sewn on by a partner, family member or friend in remembrance of their loved one.
Tina Ramsey, Clinical Services Manager for YorSexualHealth, said: “Thankfully nowadays HIV is a treatable condition and no longer a terminal illness. The key is early diagnosis and treatment. This month we held National HIV Testing Week to promote regular testing so that people can be diagnosed early and get the best care possible.”
Although the number of new HIV diagnoses in York and North Yorkshire is lower than the national average, more people are diagnosed late and around a third of those did not identify as having an obvious high risk. Nationally, the three groups most at risk of being given a late diagnosis of HIV include heterosexual men, black African adults and those aged 50 and older.
Dr Ian Fairley, Clinical Director for Sexual Health Services at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Knowing whether or not you’re HIV positive is essential so that you can access specialist HIV services and HIV treatment.
“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.”
National HIV Testing Week is followed by a campaign funded by Public Health England which offers free online testing until 6 January 2020. It promotes regular testing to help reduce the numbers of undiagnosed people and those diagnosed late.
HIV testing is available in a range of community settings through YorSexualHealth’s partnership with Yorkshire Mesmac. Visit their website www.mesmac.co.uk for drop-in testing sessions available throughout the week or to book a test.
YorSexualHealth is commissioned by City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council. It 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 including details of sexual health clinics and STI testing.
York Hospital will light up the roof lights in red in support of those living with HIV.
29 November 2019