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A finger prick is all it takes - HIV Testing Week in Kingston 19-24 November

HIV

Kingston Council is supporting the national HIV testing week campaign: ‘It starts with me’ to encourage people to get tested, treated and protected against HIV.

Around one in eight people with HIV still don’t know they are infected. In Kingston, with a range of different testing methods, including a simple, quick and painless finger prick, it is easy to get tested.

Kingston’s HIV figures are lower than the London average, but are still considered high, with more than two people infected with HIV for every 1000 adults aged 15-59 years. Between 10 and 20 Kingston residents are newly infected with HIV each year. London as a whole has the highest prevalence of HIV in the country and it affects some groups more than others, with Black African communities and men who have sex with men (MSM) more at risk than other groups.

Cllr Margaret Thompson, portfolio holder for Children’s and Adults’ Care, and Education, said:

“Although we have made some real improvements in diagnosing HIV sooner, around one third of all Kingston’s HIV cases are diagnosed late, and there is still so much that can be done. We can all play a role in stopping HIV, but it takes each of us to make it happen, by being tested and treated as necessary, and by protecting ourselves and others.”

Dr Julie Beattie, GP, Kingston Health Centre, said:

“As a GP I recognise that HIV is a treatable condition. I want to do everything I can to reduce the risk of preventable infection in my patients. Like other local practices, we offer HIV testing to all new patients registering with a GP. We also offer HIV testing when we think there may be a chance that unprotected sex has put a patient at risk. We want to make it easy for patients to have a test and to be able to discuss any worries or concerns they may have.”

There is free, confidential, rapid finger prick HIV testing in Kingston town centre from 19-24 November at the YES bus, parked on Fife Road, near Sports Direct at the side of the Bentall Centre:

  • Monday 19 November: 11am - 3pm

  • Tuesday 20 Nov: 11am – 3pm

  • Wednesday 21 Nov: 11am – 3pm

  • Thursday 22 Nov: 12pm – 7pm

  • Friday 23 Nov: 11am - 3pm

  • Saturday 24 November: 11am – 5pm

If you are unable to attend one of these sessions, free self-sampling kits to test for HIV at home can be ordered from www.test.hiv.

Throughout the year, Kingston has a number of services offering HIV testing including the specialist sexual health service at the Wolverton Centre in Kingston Hospital, community sexual health services run by Your Healthcare CIC, and GP practices. To find a service near you visit www.kingston.gov.uk/sexualhealth or www.startswithme.org.uk.