Leading charity The Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) who have for over two decades been pioneering sexual health awareness with men who have sex with men encourage more men to know their HIV status as new figures show an increase in infections across North West England.
The latest report from The Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University ‘HIV and AIDS in the North West of England 2012’ shows a 5% increase in the number of HIV cases throughout the North West compared to 2011. The report highlights that 50% of new cases of HIV are between men who have sex with men, followed by heterosexual people representing 41% of new cases.
The Lesbian & Gay Foundation sees many gay and bisexual men taking the decision to test at their free weekly same day HIV testing clinic which is run in partnership with the Manchester Centre for Sexual Health. Last year, 30% of men who attended the LGF’s clinics at their Community Resource Centre in Manchester had not tested for HIV in the last 12 months, demonstrating the impact and reach of the organisation’s targeted HIV and sexual health work.
Rob Cookson, Director at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation commented:
“These latest figures tell us that more men are accessing testing and want to know their HIV status and it is vitally important that organisations like The Lesbian & Gay Foundation continue to provide testing services, advice, information and support to the community around HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.”
One service user at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation commented: “The safe sex packs have clearly prevented me contracting HIV. Brilliant service.”
The Lesbian & Gay Foundation provides free condoms and lube packs for gay and bisexual men which are available across Greater Manchester at a range of venues, they host weekly testing clinics at their centre in Manchester and provide training, awareness sessions and a whole host of information on their website at www.lgf.org.uk/testing.