Are you at risk? Get tested this World AIDS Day
NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging anyone who thinks that they are at risk from HIV to get tested this World AIDS Day, Monday 1 December 2014.
Around 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK - 25 per cent of which are unaware they have the virus. Southwark and Lambeth have the highest HIV prevalence rate nationally and the number of new HIV infections is still rising. We want to increase HIV testing among the most affected groups and populations – gay and bisexual men and Black African people.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) attacks the body's immune system and is contracted through infected bodily fluids, most commonly through sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles or syringes. A HIV test - a simple blood test or saliva test can provide essential diagnosis to reduce the risk of serious illness and to stop the spread of the condition.
Dr Noel Baxter, local GP and lead for NHS Southwark CCG, said: "It's important to be proactive about your sexual health and know how to protect yourself and others from HIV. Condoms, used properly, are still the best protection against HIV."
He added: "If you think you may be at risk, HIV tests are available through your GP and local sexual health clinics, and results and advice are confidential. Many advances have been made in HIV treatment and getting tested early will provide more effective treatment against the virus, improving chances of a healthier and longer life."
HIV tests are available in Southwark through your registered GP practice. You can also use local sexual health clinics at Artesian and Walworth Road GP practices or go to the Camberwell sexual health centre.
You can find out more information about HIV at http://www.worldaidsday.org. You can also test how HIV aware you are at www.hivawarequiz.org.uk.