Free fingerprick HIV testing drop-ins are being offered during November across the city in a bid to encourage people to take a HIV test for HIV Testing Week 2018.
The Sexual Health Team from Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is taking HIV testing out in the community at venues across the City of Stoke-on-Trent for the national week which runs from 17-23 November. The fast, free and confidential test is a simple fingerprick which gives results in 20 minutes.
Figures from Public Health England (PHE) showed a 17% drop in the number of new diagnoses from 2016 to 2017, however, 42% of people were diagnosed at a late stage of infection, which is linked with an increased risk of serious health problems.
Zoe Holdcroft, Sexual Health Project Worker, said: “We’re delighted to be offering HIV testing drop-ins across the city once again for HIV Testing Week. We’re also championing Terrence Higgins Trust’s ‘Can’t Pass It On’ message; that HIV positive people on effective treatment can’t pass the virus on. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to take a test and know your HIV status, so you can protect future partners, enjoy a long healthy life and access support services.
“The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is by having sex without a condom – so if you’ve had unprotected sex it’s definitely worth getting a test. We can also give you free condoms there and then when you take a test with us, so you can make sure you’re staying as safe as possible when having sex.”
Throughout the year, rapid HIV fingerprick testing drop-ins are available on the last Wednesday and Thursday of every month at The Piccadilly Centre in Hanley. A comprehensive sexual health screen is available at Cobridge Community Health Centre all year round which includes HIV testing. Rapid HIV tests are also available at the Cobridge sexual health clinic.
Find a full list of HIV testing drop-ins at www.20mintesting.co.uk