Those at ‘high risk’ of HIV are urged to get tested

Posted on: 1 December 2017

Devon residents most at risk of contracting HIV are encouraged to get a quick, painless and free test – because it could save their lives.

Groups or communities that are most at risk of contracting HIV are advised to have an HIV test at least annually and include gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and black African men and women, and their sexual partners.

The call follows National HIV Testing Week and coincides with Devon County Council marking World Aids Day by raising the Red Ribbon Flag today (Friday 1 December ).

World AIDS Day is held each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.

One in eight people do not know that they have HIV and those who are undiagnosed spend an average of three to five years unaware they have the virus.

Almost 40 per cent of all new HIV diagnoses in the South West last year were ‘late’. A ‘late’ diagnosis is one made at a point after which HIV treatment should have started.

A person who has had the condition confirmed late is ten times more likely to die the year following the diagnosis than those who were tested earlier.

For more information and to order a FREE postal HIV test click here.

Andrew Evans is Director of Operations at The Eddystone Trust, a Devon HIV and sexual health charity, which offers a free confidential test.

He said: “Today, if you test positive, effective treatment means you can live as long as anyone else, and when the amount of the virus in your blood is reduced to undetectable levels, this means you cannot pass on HIV.
“Testing puts you in control and is nothing to be feared.”

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Public Health, said: “We support HIV testing and would encourage people from communities which experience a higher prevalence of HIV to have this simple test. Early diagnosis is key to improving outcomes and reducing risk of transmission.”

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing