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‘It starts with you’ this National HIV Testing Week

HIV Testing WeekManchester Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) is leading Manchester's involvement in National HIV Testing Week which runs from the 22nd - 29th November 2013.


The week aims to raise awareness particularly among gay men and people from African communities to increase testing. It was initiated by HIV Prevention England, who aim to reduce undiagnosed and late diagnosed HIV by early testing. The event coincides with the first ever European testing week. Testing opportunities will be offered in the community, at clinics and GPs practices.


MSCH Manager Debbie Thomas said: "This year we wanted to use the event not only to increase awareness and acceptability of HIV testing, but to also use it as a platform to bring together the amazing work and efforts of the organisations who work all year round to increase access to HIV testing, in a variety of settings."


The Centre's programme for testing during National HIV Testing Week (NHTW) is in line with the national focus for this event - targeting the most at risk populations: gay men and African people.  The majority of testing, to all groups and communities, takes place at The Hathersage Centre, but the service provides outreach clinics to target populations who otherwise would not access testing.  

Thomas: "Though we do this work all year NHTW provides us with the opportunity to really focus on the hard to reach populations and to challenge our own efforts, and to try something new."


The Centre will provide HIV tests in the First Stop Health Bus, which will be parked by Hulme ASDA.  Thomas: "We're not only promoting HIV testing, but also providing the test it in the heart of the community, and even if people choose not to test on the day, they may take away a leaflet and decide to test the following week or month, but we planted the seed during NHTW."  

The Centre partners up with The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, Black Health Agency and NHS England to deliver a programme of events and testing.

This year's programme of events includes:

Monday 25th November - Black Health Agency & MCSH Hosting stand ASDA Hulme

Tuesday 26th November - Sexual health screening clinic at Basement Sauna 12.00pm-3.00pm

Wednesday 27th November - Hosting a full day HIV Testing Clinic at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, Richmond Street.

Thursday 28th November - Hosting a sexual health clinic with the Black Health Agency on the Health Check Bus outside Moss Side Market

Thursday 28th November - HIV Specialist Midwife hosting a stand in St Mary's Hospital Atrium

Friday 29th November - Live Twitchat with a Sexual Health Consultant


Thomas said: "Working in close partnership with The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, we provide year round outreach clinics to men who have sex with men at LGF and male saunas in the City Centre." and that is working well.  


HIV the facts 

25,000 people in the UK live are undiagnosed with HIV, a quarter of all people with HIV in the UK. Currently, one in four people with HIV remain undiagnosed and therefore more likely to pass the virus on than someone who has tested and is on treatment.


Dr Orla McQuillan, Sexual Health Consultant at MCSH, said: "Getting tested will protect your partners, and getting tested means you can have children who won't have HIV." She added: "If they're right at the beginning of their infection, I say to people: You can manage this, you will survive to see your children and probably your grandchildren as well."


- HIV very common infection in Manchester now 7329 individuals accessing care in the North west in 2012, in Manchester amongst those aged 15-59 5.72/1000 infection rate.


- 50% patients new to services in 2012 were Gay or bisexual men.


- Nationally 25 % patients are diagnosed late and this was more likely to be the case in Heterosexual men and women so although the numbers affected in these groups are smaller they are more likely to be unwell at presentation.


- Outlook-normal or near normal lifespan with early diagnosis and treatment but this worsens with later diagnosis.    


For more information

To contact the Centre or find out about clinic times visit www.manchestersexualhealth.org


To find out more about Nation HIV Testing Week visit www.hivpreventionengland.org.uk


Issued by Ruth Edwards, Communications Department contact 0161 901 2658 or ruth.edwards@cmft.nhs.uk