Local sexual health charity Herts Aid is urging people in Hertfordshire to test for HIV during this year’s National HIV Testing Week.
The charity will be offering free ‘finger prick’ HIV testing in GP surgeries, pharmacies and community venues over the course of the week, starting from November 21st, to raise awareness of HIV and increase local testing.
Herts Aid works to challenge the stigma surrounding HIV and making testing more easily accessible and visible in the community helps.
According to the charity, there were approximately 1119 people with diagnosed HIV in Hertfordshire in 2014.
Under half of those with HIV in Hertfordshire are diagnosed late.
Suzanne Bannister, Director of Herts Aid, said: "Many people have HIV but don’t know it. Perhaps they don’t think they could have HIV, assume they are HIV negative or have never got round to testing.
"We’re urging people to consider taking a test this HIV Testing Week so they know their status for sure.
"HIV screening takes 10 minutes out of your busy schedules, but the positive effects of early diagnosis can last a lifetime."
Hertfordshire County Council is backing the ‘important’ campaign to raise awareness.
Teresa Heritage, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Localism and Libraries, at said: “We’re delighted to be supporting this important campaign.
"Getting more people tested is vital in helping to drive down undiagnosed HIV and allowing people with HIV to get the treatment and support they need without delay."
The finger prick test can give an initial result immediately. Herts Aid has offices all over the county. To check in, visit the calendar for check in hours.
If you’d like to speak to anyone about HIV or sexual health, or you’d like to take an HIV test, call 01920 484784 or email email@example.com to arrange an appointment.
Written by Isaac Ouro