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Newham Council is urging people to take up free HIV tests as part of National HIV Testing Week

14 November 2018 in Health
Newham Council is urging residents to take up free HIV tests. More than 1,400 people in Newham are currently receiving treatment for HIV but an estimated 170 people are still unaware of their condition.​
​To encourage residents to have the test, Newham Council has commissioned a free screening programme which involves a swab being taken, run by GPs in the borough for newly registered patients although anyone can ask to be screened.

Most people diagnosed with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) go on to lead long, healthy lives provided they are diagnosed early. 

National HIV Testing Week, 17-23 November, will raise awareness of the importance of earlier diagnosis of the condition.

More than 13,500 people in Newham took an HIV test in 2017 alone. Getting tested can increase the chance of an earlier diagnosis, meaning earlier access to treatment and support and less chance of transmitting the virus to someone else.

Dr Liat Sarner from Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “With effective treatment, people living with HIV can now lead long healthy lives and we now know that those on successful treatment cannot transmit the virus to others. The earlier you are diagnosed the better it is for your health and for protecting your sexual partners. 

“Having a test is quick and easy so I would encourage everyone to have a test so that they know their status.”

Councillor Susan Masters, Cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “I’m delighted that the council has been able to commission this new HIV screening service through GPs. I’m taking my test today and if you’re registering at a GP practice for the first time I encourage you to accept your free test as well.”

If you think you may be at risk of HIV you can request a free home testing kit online at www.alleast.nhs.uk ​or call 020 8496 7237 for advice or to book an appointment.