NATIONAL HIV TESTING WEEK
Now in its fifth year, National HIV Testing Week (NHTW) is an important national event which increases the opportunities for people to get tested for HIV and learn more about the virus. It is mainly directed at the two groups that continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV in England: men who have sex with men (MSM) and black African people. In previous years the event has also had positive effects on the broader community.
The week is co-ordinated by HIV Prevention England (HPE) with support from local partners like Staffordshire Buddies.
WHY IS HIV TESTING IMPORTANT?
Approximately 103,700 people are living with HIV in the UK according to Public Health England. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are estimated to make up around 1% of the general population, yet they account for an estimated 43% of those living with HIV in the UK and 55% of all new diagnoses in 2014. Black Africans (BAs) make up 2% of the UK population, yet they accounted for 20% of diagnoses in 2014.
There are approximately 18,100 people in the UK living with HIV who do not know that they have it. Since these people are unaware that they are living with HIV, they are not accessing life-saving treatment and care – they also remain the primary source for onward transmission. NHTW provides the perfect opportunity to get those who have never tested to test, and to test annually.
IT STARTS WITH ME
It’s a good idea to test at least once a year. Test negative and end worries and doubt. Test positive and you can enjoy a long, healthy life – by testing early and starting treatment in time.
Taking an HIV test is good for all of us. If you’re positive you can get treatment and avoid passing on HIV to others. Test negative and you end any worries or doubt.
If you’d like to find out more about Staffordshire Buddies’ confidential, non-judgemental testing services please click here
A survey of organisations and clinics after NHTW 2016 found that:
88 per cent of organisations agree that NHTW is a valuable addition to HIV prevention efforts.
96 per cent said that they would support NHTW in 2017.
64 per cent agreed that NHTW increased their capacity to impact their community/clients. The biggest impact was through increasing awareness of the importance of HIV testing in the local community (87.2 per cent), followed by delivering more HIV tests (56.41 per cent).
Of those organisations who provide HIV testing, over 34 per cent provided at least twice as many tests as a regular week.
For more information visit the website www.hivpreventionengland.org.uk