First European HIV Testing Week 2013: The LGF boosts awareness

Publish Date: 21/11/2013

The Lesbian and Gay Foundation (The LGF) are hosting a series of additional services over the week, including an all-day rapid HIV Clinic to increase HIV testing among gay and bisexual (GB) men.

The aim is to increase the awareness and acceptability of HIV testing by continuing to provide and promote access to HIV testing services to improve early diagnosis, the treatment of HIV and to reduce ongoing transmission among those most at risk.

In a major bid to slash infection rates across Britain, National HIV Testing Week (NHTW) starts on Friday 22 November and runs until 29 November and coincides with the first European HIV Testing Week.

In the UK, GB men remain one of the groups most at risk of HIV as undiagnosed HIV infection is still unacceptably high. One in five GB men with HIV do not know they have it and up to eight in ten new infections in this population are estimated to come from them.

Director of Business Development for The Lesbian & Gay Foundation, Rob Cookson, said: “The Lesbian and Gay Foundation is delighted to play its full part in promoting National HIV Testing Week, which provides a great opportunity for gay and bisexual men to find out more about the benefits of testing.

“If you’ve never tested before or haven’t tested for a while, it’s important to remember that it’s really easy to test and the benefits of knowing your HIV status are huge. There are lots of ways to test, including at community venues, postal HIV kits and your local GUMs.”

Throughout NHTW, The LGF will be continuing to support an increase in the awareness of the benefits of regular HIV testing and of taking treatment when necessary - for the individual and for the community.

They will also analyse the extent of undiagnosed infection and late diagnosis and its impact on individual health and HIV transmission risk and the benefits of HIV treatment, including its role in reducing onward HIV transmission and the ways to access HIV testing via online tools and the provision of postal sampling and community-based rapid testing.

If the campaign is successful, then it is expected to result in an increase in the number of at-risk people testing at least once a year. This is an important step towards detecting undiagnosed HIV and cutting new infections.

An all-day rapid HIV testing clinic will be available on Wednesday 27 November from 10am-4pm at The LGF. You can also collect a home testing kit for HIV from The LGF, 10am-7pm, Monday to Friday, or order one online at: www.lgf.org.uk/hometesting

The LGF have also arranged outreach sessions, including a drop-in at The Goodman Centre in Salford on 25th November from 1pm-5pm. Look out for Sex Tips Live – a fun interactive game show about sex and STIs, from 7pm on Saturday 30th November at The New Union on Canal Street.

The LGF team will also be available through Netreach on Fitlads, Gaydar and Grindr from 6-8pm on Friday 22nd November, and 5pm-7pm from Monday 22nd to Friday 29th November. For further information email: martin.cooper@lgf.org.uk

For further information and updates about all events visit The LGF Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TheLGF and Twitter: @lgfoundation #hivtestweek