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Record number of HIV tests in Westminster at ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event

01 September 2014

A record number of legislators took HIV tests in the House of Commons Tuesday 8 July at a ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event hosted by the John Hunter Clinic, the Halve It coalition and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS.

Photo: Staff members from John Hunter Clinic at the House of Commons

A record number of legislators took HIV tests in the House of Commons Tuesday 8 July at a ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event hosted by the John Hunter Clinic, the Halve It coalition and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS.

22 MPs, Peers and Councillors took a test administered by clinicians from the John Hunter Clinic to demonstrate the UK’s policy commitment to HIV testing.

David Furnish (Chairman of Elton John AIDS Foundation and Halve It member) described the event as “an unprecedented show of support for scaling up HIV testing and solidarity with the 100,000 people living with HIV today in the UK”.

The ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event also showcased the recent launch of the NICE local government briefing on HIV testing.

Professor Kevin Fenton (Public Health England’s Director of Health and Wellbeing) said: “The new briefing from NICE is an important document for local authorities [who are now responsible for HIV testing] and will help them to decide on the best steps to take locally.”

In the UK over 98,400 people live with HIV every day of the year—22% of these are undiagnosed and 47% are diagnosed late.

The sooner HIV is diagnosed the sooner appropriate care can begin, and thanks to medical advancements the life expectancy of someone living with HIV has increased markedly in recent years.

Halve It is a national coalition that focuses on the expansion of HIV testing services, on the basis that early testing of HIV saves lives and also results in substantial savings to the public health budget.