Kingston backs National HIV Testing Week
Kingston Council is backing National HIV Testing Week and calling on people who may be at risk to get tested.
All week the Council is offering free and confidential HIV testing in Kingston town centre. Results will be available in minutes and those who are found to have the virus will be able to receive support and treatment.
The outreach HIV testing sessions will be held at the YES bus which will be outside Sports Direct at the side of the Bentall Centre, Fife Road.
- Thursday 24 November, 12 to 7pm
- Friday 25 November, 11am to 3pm
- Saturday 26 November, 11am to 5pm
A self-sampling kit, which allows the user to test for HIV at home can be requested from the Test HIV website. For information about other local services, how to protect yourself from the virus including where else you can test for HIV can be found on the Kingston Council sexual health web pages.
Peter Taylor, Kingston Council’s Commissioning Lead for Sexual and Reproductive Health, said:
“The week aims to raise awareness of the importance of testing, tackling the stigma around HIV and highlights the need for HIV testing. Over the past two years, Kingston has shown a reduction in the number of people being diagnosed late but there is still more that an be done. Using condoms to avoid getting HIV through sex with someone who may not know they are infected, alongside testing and treatment, can save thousands of people from getting HIV in England every year".
London as a whole has the highest prevalence of HIV in the country. Kingston’s HIV prevalence rate, whilst lower than the London average, is still considered high, with more than 2 people infected with HIV for every 1000 adults aged 15-59 years. HIV affects some groups more than others, with Black African communities, and men who have sex with men, more at risk than other groups.
HIV weakens the immune system, making it harder to fight off infection and disease. Around one in five people who are infected with HIV do not know they have it and can show no symptoms for many years. Early diagnosis of HIV and the excellent treatment options available, mean that people with HIV in the UK can expect to live a normal lifespan, as well as protect others from getting infected.