Monday, 15th November 2021
Leicester HIV Testing Week (LHTW) is soon approaching, where Trade Sexual Health and Leicester Sexual Health (NHS) will be launching a campaign to encourage HIV testing across Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland. LHTW spans from 22nd November to 29th November 2021, where Trade will be hosting a variety of events for you to get involved in. But before you find out how you can get involved, it’s important to understand the importance of getting tested for HIV.
According to Public Health England, Leicester has the sixth highest rate of HIV outside of London, with a new HIV diagnosis rate of 12.8 per 100,000. Out of these new diagnoses, 55% of people receive a late diagnosis, compared to an average of 43% in England. A late diagnosis means that the virus has had the chance develop and damage the immune system before a person has been diagnosed. This puts the individual at an increased risk developing serious health problems and premature death. It also means that a person with undiagnosed HIV may have unknowingly passed on the virus to more people. These statistics demonstrate the need for regular HIV testing in Leicester, in order to detect the virus at an early stage and prevent the transmission of HIV in the local area.
There are many benefits to getting tested and knowing your HIV status. People can only start HIV treatment if they know they are living with the virus. Starting treatment earlier on means that health outcomes are usually better, and people can go on to live longer with early detection and care. And all of this can only be initiated through doing a HIV test! This really ties in with our local need to overcome late diagnoses, to give people a good chance of fighting the virus and living longer, healthier lives.
Aside from the clear health and community benefits of testing, testing for HIV can also make you feel empowered. By choosing to know your HIV status, you are taking control of your own sexual health and helping to protect yourself and those around you. You can also help to tackle HIV stigma by normalising testing and having open discussions around HIV.
Now you know the importance and benefits of testing for HIV, there are lots of ways you can get involved in Leicester HIV Testing Week- the most important being getting tested for HIV! Trade will be running various sessions across the district where we are offering the chance to get tested for HIV. You can see our testing week timetable here to find a suitable time for you to get tested.
Alternatively, HIV testing kits are available online which are posted out to you to complete in the comfort of your own home. Tests can also be bought at a pharmacy, such as Boots with some pharmacies even carrying out the test for you. Testing involves taking a small sample of blood, but this should not be painful and is completed very quickly.
You can also get involved in Leicester HIV Testing Week by attending some of the social events and workshops that Trade will be running over the course of the week and as part of World AIDS Day on and around 1st December. You can find more details of these by looking on our website and social media channels.
We hope you will join us for Leicester HIV Testing Week, and we look forward to seeing many of you at the various events that we will be running. Testing is the gateway to treatment, so we urge you to get tested yourself and spread the word to others! Help us tackle HIV in Leicester by getting involved in HIV Testing Week.