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West Middlesex supports National HIV Testing Week

25 November 2014

The Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Corinna Smart has visited West Middlesex University Hospital’s Sexual Health Unit during National HIV Testing Week to see first-hand how easy it is for people to get tested for the infection.

The Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Corinna Smart has visited West Middlesex University Hospital’s Sexual Health Unit during National HIV Testing Week to see first-hand how easy it is for people to get tested for the infection.

National HIV Testing Week runs from 22 – 30 November and throughout the week, West Middlesex Hospital, Heart of Hounslow and Feltham Centre for Health are providing a free walk-in HIV testing service at each of their sexual health clinics. The finger prick test provides the patient with their results within five minutes, demonstrating how quick and easy it is for people to get tested.

The campaign is particularly significant in Hounslow where there is a prevalence rate of 3.6 HIV diagnoses per 1,000 population aged between 15 and 59 years, higher than its comparable statistical neighbours. Now in its third year, National HIV Testing Week is an opportunity to raise awareness amongst the local population and to encourage testing, particularly amongst high risk groups.

High risk groups include gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and African people. During National HIV Testing Week last year, the number of HIV tests taken in Sexual Health Clinics increased significantly among both these groups and it is hoped this number will increase again during this year’s campaign.

Richard West, Operational Lead for Sexual Health Hounslow explained: “This year we’ve made our HIV testing campaign even bigger, working with the local authority to increase opportunities to test across the borough. Treatment, which is free via our service, can stop HIV making you seriously unwell and make the virus less infectious but some people still find testing difficult. We hope this campaign enables even more people to come forward for a test.”

Councillor Smart commented on her visit: “Having watched an HIV finger prick test take place I am really surprised at how simple and straight forward it is. It is such an improvement and to get the results back within a couple of minutes means it is even easier for people to get tested.”