News

HIV Testing Week in Kingston - a finger prick is all it takes!

Kingston Council and sexual health services across the borough are supporting National HIV Testing Week (16 - 22 November).

The national campaign ‘It starts with me’ encourages people to get tested, treated and protected against HIV.

In Kingston more than two out of every 1000 residents aged 15-59 years are infected with HIV, this is in line with the England rate, but significantly lower than the London rate of 5.6 per 1000 people.

Between 10-20 Kingston residents are newly infected with HIV every year and the latest data from Public Health England (PHE) reports 44% of all HIV diagnoses in the borough were late. A late diagnosis means someone has tested positive for HIV after the virus has already started to damage the immune system and they will need to start treatment straight away.

While new HIV diagnoses have fallen for a third consecutive year, which is good news, around one in twelve people with HIV across England don’t know they are infected. People diagnosed with HIV late will experience poorer long-term health outcomes and are ten times more likely to die earlier than those who get tested early and start receiving highly effective treatment.

A range of different testing methods, including a simple, quick and painless finger prick test, are widely available across the borough.  

Iona Lidington, Director of Public Health for Kingston Council said:

“We have made some real improvements in identifying undiagnosed HIV. However, late diagnosis in Kingston continues to be a concern, and there is still so much that can be done.” 

“We encourage everyone to get tested. There are many testing options available, which will prevent onward transmission of the infection, protecting ourselves and others. If people are diagnosed with HIV, they can access free treatment and support.”

“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. However, a combination approach to prevention is now showing results in the capital. There has been a decline in HIV diagnoses in key groups over the past few years, due to a mixture of higher levels of testing, quicker diagnosis, prompt access to treatment and availability of condoms.”

During HIV Testing Week, Kingston sexual health services are working together to offer free, rapid and confidential finger prick HIV testing in Kingston Town Centre, upstairs in Market House in Market Place, KT1 1JS.

Market House drop in sessions

Monday 18 November (12-4pm)

Tuesday 19 November (12-4pm)

Wednesday 20 November (12-4pm)

Thursday 21 November (12-7pm)

Friday 22 November (12-4pm) 

Free postal HIV home test kits can also be ordered on www.freetesting.hiv

For information on all HIV testing and sexual health services in Kingston please visit: www.kingston.gov.uk/sexualhealth or www.startswithme.org.uk.