This National HIV Testing Week (6 to 12 February), Wokingham Borough Council is encouraging as many people as possible to get tested and know their HIV status.
The rates of late diagnosis are rising in Wokingham Borough, with 66.7 per cent diagnosed at a late stage, meaning treatment is tougher. Early diagnosis of HIV infection enables better treatment outcomes and reduces the risk of transmitting the infection to others.
The council is supporting a HIV testing campaign, which is being co-ordinated by Thames Valley Positive Support (TVPS). The charity is on a mission to get HIV infections eliminated by 2030 and they will be offering community testing that is quick, free and confidential.
Sessions are in discreet venues and the test takes one minute to give a result, which is received at the appointment.
To make testing even easier, the charity is also offering free postal test kits. These can be sent direct, or picked up from TVPS when they are in the area. They are sent in plain packaging and you receive your results via text or phone call.
You can book a community test or order a postal test by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 01628 603400 or by sending a WhatsApp message to 07727 289712.
Cllr David Hare, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, said: “Like a lot of things where our health is concerned, knowing your HIV status is so important. Although there is no cure for HIV, getting treatment as early as possible gives you the best chance of leading a healthy life. It can also reduce the risk of it being passed onto others. There are a lots of ways to get tested, all of which are simple and discreet and will give you clarity.”
TVPS have been supporting local people affected by HIV since 1985. As well as increasing awareness, it aims to provide emotional and practical support to those living with or affect by the virus. It also seeks to increase the level of testing to ensure people know their HIV status and to avoid late diagnosis.
Sarah Macadam, the charity’s CEO said: “We’re offering a choice of tests to make it as easy as possible for people to know their HIV status, either in the comfort of their own home, or at one of our testing venues.
“There have been a couple of years where HIV testing hasn’t been top of everyone’s agenda and that’s understandable with other health concerns, such as Covid, but now is the time to get back into the habit of testing for HIV and making it an essential part of your healthcare routine.”
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