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Coventry residents encouraged to get tested for HIV

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Health and care partners in Coventry are marking National HIV Testing Week, running from 1st – 7th February, by reminding people about the importance of getting tested for HIV if they think they may have been at risk of contracting the virus.

Coventry is one of the areas in the West Midlands with high rates of HIV.  Many people can live with the virus for a long time without any symptoms with the consequence of late diagnosis which can lead to poorer health outcomes and reduced life expectancy for those affected.

A combination of regular testing among high-risk groups such as men who have sex with men, people of Black African ethnic origin and people who share needles or syringes.  Access to HIV treatment and encouraging condom use is the key to winning the fight against this horrific disease, which can prove deadly in some cases. There are several ways to get tested, one of which is a finger prick test which can quickly indicate if a person is positive or negative.

Councillor Kamran Caan, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport, said: “All testing is done in complete confidentiality and people can order a free home test or have the finger prick test at their pharmacy, GP or Sexual Health Clinic and get results in just 60 seconds.

“This is a brilliant campaign that should be supported by everybody. I want to encourage testing for HIV, even during these difficult times. Let’s help get HIV diagnosed earlier in Coventry.”

1 in 12 people are unaware they have the virus, and those diagnosed at a late stage are ten times more likely to die in the first year after diagnosis and spend an average of 3 to 5 years unaware that they have the virus. Although there is no cure for HIV, treatments are now very effective, enabling people diagnosed with the virus early to live long and healthy lives.

The fear of receiving bad news and the perceived stigma associated with HIV and AIDS can prevent people from being tested. However, the sooner individuals take a test and are diagnosed, the sooner they can receive the healthcare and support they need.

You can have a free finger prick test, which will indicate if you have HIV; go to www.test.HIV to see if you are eligible to have the test sent to an address of your choice.

To book a confidential appointment for a free HIV test with the Integrated Sexual Health Service at Coventry’s Health Centre, call 0300 020 0027 or visit the website www.ishs.org.uk.

For more details of how to get tested and which pharmacies in the city offer the finger-prick tests visit: https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/190/health_and_wellbeing/2786/hiv

 

Written by: Aaron

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