HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is launching an all day ‘STI Testival’ in Bristol, encouraging local people to test for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
On Thursday 22nd July, THT’s ‘Fastest’ clinic on West Street will be open from 10.00am – 9.00pm, offering free, confidential testing to local people.
THT is running the event in an effort to bring down high levels of undiagnosed HIV and STIs in the city and surrounding areas. In 2008, there were an estimated 3,440 people living with HIV in the South West, of who around a quarter were unaware they were infected. Young people aged 18-25 are particularly encouraged to attend, as currently one in fourteen of those in this age bracket currently have undiagnosed chlamydia.
At the ‘Fastest’ service, testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea involves taking a urine sample which is then posted off to the lab, with results available within a week. THT will direct those who test positive to a local treatment centre, who will provide treatment for the infection.
The clinic also uses a finger-prick blood test to check for HIV, with the results provided within fifteen minutes. Those who attend the clinic will be given information and advice before and after the test, and anyone who tests HIV positive will be fast tracked into a treatment centre.
THT clinics and workers also offer information on STIs and safer sex, as well as giving out free condoms.
Steve Jones, Regional Manager for THT in Bristol, said: “We’re determined to get rates of undiagnosed STIs down in Bristol so local people aren’t putting themselves at risk of long-term health problems. We want to make sure people know that – where good sexual health is concerned – going for regular check-ups is just as important as using condoms.”
Those who are unable to attend the ‘STI Testival’ are encouraged to attend one of THT’s two regular Fastest clinics in Bristol. Sessions take place at the charity’s centre on West Street every Monday from 5.00pm – 7.30pm. In South Gloucestershire, sessions take place at The Park Centre, Kingswood every Wednesday from 4.30pm – 6.30pm. Both clinics are free and anonymous.