HIV awareness - Get yourself tested
As part of National HIV Testing Week and World Aids Day, Sexual health specialists at Sherwood Forest Hospitals (SFH) are urging more local people to obtain a HIV test if they think they have been put at risk.
HIV Testing Week runs from 19 – 27 November, with World Aids Day on 1 December. During this time, the Sexual Health Service at SFH, known as ‘My Sexual Health’, is helping to raise awareness of the importance of HIV testing.
Dr Elizabeth Carlin, Service Director for My Sexual Health said: “Effective treatments for HIV are now available, treatments work by suppressing the activity of the HIV virus and reducing the damage to the immune system. This does not eradicate the virus, but with early diagnosis and the right treatment and care, someone with HIV can expect to live a normal life span.
“Many of those in the UK living with HIV do not know that they have it and so are not accessing treatment and care. Therefore, their long term health is at risk and, unknowingly, they can risk passing the infection on to others. This is why it is so important that we all take individual action to have a HIV test if we have been at risk. The HIV prevention campaign for 2016 ‘It starts with me’ recognises this and we are giving it our full support by encouraging people to be tested.”
HIV attacks the immune system, and gradually causes damage, which over time increases the risk of developing serious infections and certain types of cancer.
The main ways HIV can be acquired or passed on to someone are:
- During unprotected anal, vaginal and oral sex
- By sharing injecting equipment
- From an HIV positive mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth or through breastfeeding.
Thousands of people are getting tested as part of National HIV Testing Week, more information can be found on the campaign website here - https://www.startswithme.org.uk/
Sexual health services at Sherwood Forest Hospitals offer free and confidential advice, HIV testing and care. Telephone My Sexual Health on 01623 672260 to obtain advice or to book an appointment for a free HIV test.