Walk-in Clinic for HIV Testing Week

13 November 2013

West Middlesex University Hospital is supporting National HIV Testing Week which takes place from 22-29 November in the run up to World AIDS Day on 1 December.

West Middlesex University Hospital is supporting National HIV Testing Week which takes place from 22-29 November in the run up to World AIDS Day on 1 December.

In the London Borough of Hounslow 61% of HIV patients are diagnosed late which is higher than the London average, and fourth highest in London*. The aim of HIV Testing Week is to raise awareness in the gay and African communities of the importance of testing; increase HIV testing among these communities and provide opportunities to take a test at clinics and in the community.

The West Middlesex sexual health team will be offering HIV testing with results within 15 minutes at the Heart of Hounslow Health Centre walk-in clinic from Monday 25 November to Friday 29 November. 

The walk-in clinic times are:

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 12 – 7pm

Wednesday 9am – 4pm

Friday 12pm – 4pm

The confidential service is available to all, and provided by a sexual health nurse or health advisor who also offers advice and counselling on the result. People with a positive result are referred to the hospital’s sexual health clinic and seen the following day.

Richard West, Sexual Health Operation Lead, explained: “It’s one of the few community-based walk-in HIV tests available outside central London. It’s convenient, confidential, and non-invasive, and we hope it will encourage more people to get tested.

“Advances in medication mean that HIV is now a manageable long-term condition. An early diagnosis gives people the best chance of living a normal life.”

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks the immune system and weakens the body’s ability to fight infection and disease. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection when the body can no longer fight life-threatening infections, and can generally be prevented by anti-HIV medication.  

Dr David Daniels, Consultant in Sexual Health, advises: “HIV is spread through unprotected sex. Wearing a condom is the most effective protection against sexually transmitted infections including HIV. 

“HIV may cause non-specific symptoms in the first six weeks of infection, including fever, tiredness, sore throat, joint and muscle pain, swollen glands and a blotchy rash. After that it may not cause symptoms for many years but will continue to damage the immune system, creating the risk of developing a life-threatening condition.

“If you are sexually active, and have changed partners, it’s a good idea to get a sexual health check-up even if you do not have any symptoms.”

West Middlesex University Hospital offers various drop-in clinics at Twickenham House on the hospital site, Heart of Hounslow, Chiswick Health Centre, and Feltham Centre for Health.

GPs can also provide advice on sexual health and sexual health services.