HIV could be eradicated for good, but only if everyone knows their HIV status. National HIV Testing week, which is run by HIV Prevention England, encourages everyone to be aware of whether they carry the virus or not. There is an estimated 4,400 people living with HIV in the UK who are not yet diagnosed.
Laura Clark HIV, screening coordinator, University Hospitals Sussex said:
“If we can identify these last few thousand people who are not yet diagnosed, we can stop new transmissions altogether and bring the epidemic to a close. This is why knowing your HIV status is so important”.
Testing is easy, you can order home tests from our sexual health website which can be done via a simple fingerpick sample. Don’t like blood tests? You can also have an oral swab test in clinics or from vending machines across Brighton & Hove. The sooner someone with HIV starts treatment, the better it is for their health. Treatment is free to everyone in the UK.
There are lots of ways to get tested across Sussex, arranging an appointment via your GP or visiting a sexual health clinic, or even ordering a home test kit are all routes which are readily available to the community.
Also as part of national efforts to reach zero new HIV transmissions by 2030, University Hospital Sussex screen all patients attending the Royal Sussex County Hospital A&E for HIV when having routine bloods, unless they opt out.
Treatment is now so effective that people with HIV can live long and healthy lives without fear of ever passing the virus on. If the last few thousand people do get diagnosed and receive treatment, new transmissions will stop, and the epidemic will come to an end. However, this is only possible if people know their HIV status.
Having a positive diagnosis can be daunting, but there is plenty of support available, the Lawson Unit at UHSussex is a specialist centre offering treatment, support and ongoing care for people living with HIV. They offer a range of services including a women’s clinic which provides access to a doctor, nurse, health adviser and a women’s support worker from the Sussex Beacon – all at one appointment.
It’s important to break down the stigma around HIV, this means talking about it openly, getting tested. And making sure the wider community are aware that the treatment available allows for a normal life and prevents transmission. Help us to get rid of HIV for good by getting tested yourself and knowing your HIV status.