HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust is opening the doors of its office in Brighton for a week-long marathon of HIV testing this November, as the charity launches England’s first ever National HIV Testing Week.
The charity will be offering free HIV testing without prior appointment for gay and bisexual men in Brighton & Hove and the wider Sussex area every day from Monday 26 to Thursday November 29 between 11am and 8pm.
Gay men are one of the groups most disproportionately affected by HIV in the UK, with one in seven gay men in Brighton living with HIV. However 24 per cent of those people remain undiagnosed. Someone who is diagnosed late, after a point at which they should have started treatment, is nine times more likely to die within a year of receiving their diagnosis than someone who tests in good time. In addition, undiagnosed HIV is a key factor driving the epidemic among gay men, with the majority of onward transmission coming from men who are unaware that they have the infection.
National HIV Testing Week, which is planned to be an annual event, is being co-ordinated through HIV Prevention England (HPE), a partnership of community organisations funded by the Department of Health to carry out national HIV prevention work in England among communities at an increased risk of infection. It forms the centrepiece of HPE’s autumn campaign Think HIV, which aims to encourage gay and bisexual men to test more regularly for the virus.
To take part in the campaign, gay and bisexual men can visit:
and complete a short survey about their sex life, to receive personalised advice about how regularly they should be testing for HIV.
Ross Boseley, Health Promotion Coordinator for Terrence Higgins Trust in Brighton, said:
“By opening up our centre for a week of free walk-in testing, we want to remind gay and bisexual men that it really is best to test. Sexually active gay and bisexual men should aim to test for HIV at least once a year, and more regularly they have a high number of partners, yet there are still thousands across the UK who don’t know their HIV status.
“We hope to see lots of people coming through our doors throughout the week. We also hope that the new initiative will get people thinking more about testing, not just during the week, but all year round.”
Testing is done using a finger-prick blood test, with the results provided within one hour. Those who attend the clinic will be given information and support before and after the test, and anyone who tests positive will be referred immediately to a specialist clinic. Terrence Higgins Trust staff will also provide free condoms, and information and advice on safer sex.
Terrence Higgins Trust’s Brighton office at 61 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AE will be open from Monday 26 until Thursday November 29 from 11am to 8pm for gay and bisexual men who want to take an HIV test.
No prior appointment will be required. For more information about services and support available at Terrence Higgins Trust’s Brighton centre, please call 01273 764 200
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