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Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Bristol take public HIV tests

Alastair and Sarah Watson, Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Bristol, are to take public HIV tests in an effort to encourage more local people to test for the virus during England’s third annual National HIV Testing Week.

The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress will attend the Bristol centre of HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust on Wednesday 26th November  for a simple finger-prick blood test. Their results will be delivered within 15 minutes.

National HIV Testing Week was established by Terrence Higgins Trust and HIV Prevention England in 2012, in a bid to reduce high levels of undiagnosed and late-diagnosed HIV in England. In 2013, there were an estimated 2,113 people living with HIV in Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, one in four of whom remain undiagnosed and therefore more likely to pass the virus on unwittingly.

Alastair Watson, Lord Mayor of Bristol, said: “It is unacceptable that a quarter of people with HIV in the UK do not know they have the virus. Tests are quick and easy and take just 15 minutes. There are no more excuses not to get tested and I’m proud to be taking mine at the Terrence Higgins Trust in support of National HIV Testing Week.”

Bonnie Holt, Community Support Co-ordinator for Terrence Higgins Trust in Bristol, said: “One of the aims of National HIV Testing Week is to raise awareness of how quick and easy modern tests are. We’re thrilled that the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress are helping us to do this, and we look forward to telling them more about the work we do in Bristol.”

For further information on Terrence Higgins Trust’s services in Bristol, or to book a testing appointment, please contact (0117) 955 1000, or email info.bristol@tht.org.uk.

Meanwhile, Neil Guild, Labour Parliamentary candidate for Taunton Deane, attended the Taunton centre of HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust on Monday 24th for a simple finger-prick blood test. His negative result was also delivered within 15 minutes.

Gay and bisexual men across the PrideWest region can visit www.startswithme.org.uk to register their support for National HIV Testing Week, find their nearest testing service, or order a postal HIV test kit.