Simon Kirby MP for Kemptown & Peacehaven has marked National HIV Testing Week by taking a public HIV test at the Houses of Parliament this week.
Simon took the test to encourage more people in his constituency to test for the virus. He was given a rapid finger-prick blood test by a nurse from HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), and had a negative result delivered within 15 minutes.
Mr Kirby, was the first MP to take a HIV test in Parliament in 2010.
He is a Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS, and took the test to raise awareness during England’s first ever National HIV Testing Week.
The new week has been launched by THT and runs from November. 23-30. The initiative aims to encourage people at high risk of HIV, in particular gay men and Africans, to get tested in the run up to World AIDS Day on December 1.
Brighton has one of the highest levels of HIV in the country with more than 7 per 1,000 people living with the virus. However, more than a quarter of people with HIV in the UK are undiagnosed and therefore at risk of serious health problems.
“National HIV Testing Week is a great way of shining a light on the importance of HIV testing. I am delighted to show my support by highlighting just how quick and simple taking an HIV test can be.”
Jason Warriner, Clinical Director at Terrence Higgins Trust, said:
“It’s fantastic that our Brighton MP is helping us to put National HIV Testing Week on the map. People with undiagnosed HIV are not only putting their own health at risk, they are also more likely to pass the virus on unwittingly. It’s vital we encourage more people, particularly those at increased risk of HIV, to get tested.”
National HIV Testing Week 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.
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