Stay safe, get tested

Wednesday 26 November 2014

HIV Testing Week

Guy’s and St Thomas’ sexual health services are encouraging local people to take an HIV test – as part of National HIV Testing Week.

Patients who want to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections at Burrell Street in the community or Lloyd Clinic at Guy’s Hospital – and who don’t have any symptoms – can book an appointment online through the ‘Test & Go’ service.

In addition, most of our clinics at both Burrell Street and Lloyd Clinic are walk-in, so in most cases you do not need to make an appointment. 

Our sexual health staff offer screening for sexually transmitted infections, one-minute HIV testing, contraception, pregnancy testing, information, advice, counselling and psychotherapy.

Burrell Street is also the only NHS sexual health clinic open on a Sunday.

National HIV Testing Week, which runs all week in the run-up to World AIDS Day on Monday 1 December, is making a real difference.

Last year it led to a significant increase in HIV tests in sexual health clinics among gay and bisexual men aged 25-34 and other ‘at risk’ groups.

Central to the It Starts With Me campaign during National HIV Testing Week is the idea of individuals taking personal responsibility in the push to cut new infections through more testing.

Testing reduces undiagnosed HIV infection and life-threatening late diagnosis.

New figures published by Public Health England show that one in eight sexually active gay and bisexual men in London has HIV - and Lambeth and Southwark have some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections in the capital.

The total number of people infected with HIV in Britain reached a record high of 107,800 last year and it is also estimated that nationally more than 7,000 gay men have an undiagnosed HIV infection.

Dr Valerie Delpech, head of Public Health England’s national HIV surveillance, says: “We can’t overstate the importance of testing for HIV to ensure an early diagnosis. People diagnosed promptly with HIV can expect to live long and healthy lives.

“People diagnosed with HIV late are 10 times more likely to die in the first year of diagnosis compared with those diagnosed promptly. People who remain unaware of their infection are also at risk of transmitting HIV to others.”

Last updated: November 2014

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