Today is World AIDS Day and in recognition of this international event, to raise awareness of AIDS and the HIV infection, the Terrence Higgins Trust will be offering free confidential rapid HIV tests to the people of Bedford.
If you have ever had unprotected sex or shared needles, you could have been exposed to HIV. The only way to know if you have contracted HIV Tis to get tested. You can book a confidential and free test by calling 0300 300 3030 or visiting www.test.hiv.
Cllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder of Public Health said “To raise awareness of AIDS and show support for people living with HIV/AIDS, the Bedford town bridge will be illuminated red on the 1st December. It’s vital that everyone get tested regularly. In the UK, HIV diagnoses are falling meaning the spread of the virus is slowing down. Tests are free and confidential so I urge all Bedford Borough residents to know your HIV status.”
This year’s theme for World AIDS Day, which will be marking its 30th anniversary on 1st December, will be “Know your status”.
Significant progress has been made in the AIDS response since 1988, and today three in four people living with HIV know their status. But we still have miles to go and that includes reaching people living with HIV who do not know their status and ensuring that they are linked to quality care and prevention services.
HIV testing is essential for making sure people with HIV can receive the right treatment and can lead healthy and productive lives.
World AIDS Day organisers have set themselves a target to have 90% of all people living with HIV to know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression bu 2020.
The main barrier to HIV testing, stigma and discrimination, still deter many from taking an HIV test and only find our when they become ill and that could then it is too late for some modern treatments to make a difference.