Wiltshire based, Men’s Sexual Health (MSH), are for the second year running launching their ‘Know your status’ campaign. The idea behind it is that with only a month to go until the big day on December 1st, we dedicate the month of November to encourage everyone to book an appointment at their local GU clinic to check their HIV status.
The most important reason for this campaign is that an estimated one in four of people living with HIV in the UK are unaware of their infection – that’s around 23,000 people!
There were an estimated 96,000 people living with HIV in the UK by the end of 2011. Around one in four (24%) were undiagnosed and unaware of their infection, from Health Protection Agency (HPA) figures, and Men’s Sexual Health are encourage the community to get tested and find out if they are HIV positive (HIV+ve) or HIV negative (HIV-ve), especially if they have ever put themselves at risk and never been tested before.
Once certain of your status, the knock on effects are multiple. If you test positive you’ll know now to protect those who you are sexually active with by keeping sex safe. This can reduce new cases of HIV. If you know you are virus free, you can commit to staying that way, by using condoms. Testing and knowing your status now, when you don’t even necessarily feel ill, will also reduce late diagnosis HIV. Effective medications are available, and early treatment leads to improved outcomes for you and decreased transmission to others. People who are diagnosed and treated early have better long-term health outcomes and minimize their risk of spreading the infection to others.
The MSH team will be touring Swindon with the campaign during November and on World Aids Day. Information on where the team will be touring can be found on their website. World Aids Day Safe Sex packs are also available in local venues – The Mailcoach & Pinkrooms.
If you would like to speak to a member of Men’s Sexual Health staff about any of the issues raised please call on 01793 250951/07867872552 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to book an HIV test at Swindon GU clinic please call the SWISH team on 01793 604038
You can find more information about local GU clinics across the region on our Health & Support pages.