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National HIV Testing Week launches in Brent

PUBLISHED: 06:30 16 November 2016

Shops in Brent are backing the  launch of National HIV Testing Week

Shops in Brent are backing the launch of National HIV Testing Week

Archant

Residents in Brent are being encouraged to get tested for HIV as a national awareness week launches in the borough.

National HIV Testing Week, which runs from November 19-26, is run by Terrence Higgins Trust on behalf of HIV Prevention England.

A series of events throughout the week encourages people to take a painless, simple and quick test, particularly those most at-risk of HIV, including homosexual men and black African people.

The Terrence Higgins Trust will be at Willesden Green Library in the High Road on Monday, Central Middlesex Hospital on Wednesday and on Friday will be at the Brent Civic Centre Library in Wembley and the Methodist Church in Harlesden providing information and advice about sexual health and where and when to test for HIV in Brent.

Badru Male, community engagement officer at Terrence Higgins Trust Brent, said: “We’re encouraging local people here in Brent to find out more about HIV and sexual health this National HIV Testing Week.

“We’ll be at local library’s, local colleges, churches and the hospital during the week offering advice and information, and encouraging anyone who might be at risk to come and get a free, confidential HIV test.

“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.”

Dr Christian Jessen, television presenter and supporter of National HIV Testing Week, said: “I’m a fervent champion of National HIV Testing Week. I often find that people are really afraid of taking an HIV test – it can sound like a daunting prospect, but honestly it isn’t. Testing puts you in control.

“Many people living with HIV do not know they have it – and are therefore likely to unwittingly pass on the virus. On the other hand, those who get a positive result and onto effective treatment can live a long and healthy life, and cannot pass on HIV to others. It’s a no brainer.

“The challenge is now to bust the stigma that stops people getting tested in the first place. The sooner we can do that, the quicker we can stop HIV.”

Terrence Higgins Trust in Brent provides support, information and advice as well as chlamydia screening for young people ages 15 to 24.

For more information about National HIV Testing Week, go to startswithme.org.uk

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