Patrick attended an HIV testing event in Parliament to support World AIDS Day and to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing. The event also marked the end of National HIV Testing Week 2016.
A team of experts from CNWL’s Bloomsbury HIV Clinic, supported by staff from theBloomsbury Network, a ground-breaking peer support organisation for people with HIV, both based at Mortimer Market Centre, provided on-site HIV testing, information and advice to MPs.
The team, which included an HIV consultant physician, two senior nurses, and a patient representative, used the latest testing technology providing a result almost instantly to those who took a test.
Although HIV is manageable and people with HIV can lead a healthy life with a near-normal life expectancy, late diagnosis of HIV remains an important public health issue in the UK.
Thirteen per cent of people with HIV in the UK are unaware of their status and therefore not getting the care they need. A person with untreated HIV is more likely to pass the virus on and more likely to become ill.
Encouraging people to test for HIV, and to access highly effective treatment if needed, is more important than ever.
Speaking at the event Patrick said:
“I took this test today to raise awareness about HIV testing. An HIV test can be taken at home, at the hospital, at your GP surgery, at a sexual health clinic; almost anywhere you want to take it. It is not something to be feared. HIV is treatable but it is vital to get tested so you can receive treatment if necessary.”
Cristian Sandulescu, Patient Representative from the Bloomsbury Network at Mortimer Market Centre said:
“HIV testing is about looking after yourself and being responsible and this event helps show the way. HIV is a long term manageable condition and the earlier the diagnosis, the better it is for the patient, so it’s important to get tested no matter who you are.”
HIV is a virus that can affect any sexually active person and children born to HIV positive women.
You can find out more information about getting tested for HIV at https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/immune-system/hiv, or you can find a local service at http://www.nhs24.com/findlocal/