From Wednesday 19th October, HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is to start offering a new HIV testing service at The Brighton Sauna. The weekly drop in, which will take place on Wednesday evenings from 6.00pm – 8.30pm, will use modern finger-prick blood tests to offer men results within one hour.
Testing is free and anonymous. THT’s fully-trained staff will provide men with information and support before and after the test, and anyone who receives a reactive result will be referred straight away to a specialist clinic for further testing. THT will also provide free condoms, along with information and advice on sexual health.
In the UK, gay men remain one of the groups most at risk of HIV infection. However, in Brighton & Hove one in five gay men has never had an HIV test. In a bid to encourage more men to test and reduce high levels of undiagnosed HIV locally, THT plans to expand its testing services in Brighton to include more non-clinical settings.
Jason Warriner, Clinical Director for THT, said: “We know most gay men in Brighton & Hove are aware of the benefits of regular testing, which is why it is concerning that a fifth of them remain untested for HIV. Some men may not want to visit a traditional sexual health clinic, for whatever reason, but it is still important they know their HIV status.
“Advances in testing mean we can now bring our testing services to the places men are; we don’t have to wait for them to come to us. We’re very grateful to The Brighton Sauna for giving us this opportunity, and hope it will encourage more men to come forward for testing.”
Adam Bailey, General Manager at The Brighton Sauna, said: “We are extremely proud to be able to offer some space for THT to operate this testing service, as we recognise the discretion issues that some people face when confronted with a hard decision to visit a clinic. We wish THT success with it and hope it fills a gap, and helps our customers to stay safe and look after their health. We have always respected our customers’ privacy and understand how delicate things like this can be.”
THT also runs a weekly ‘Fastest’ clinic from its Brighton centre; Monday evenings from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. The clinic is situated at 61 Ship Street, Brighton.
For further information on the new testing service, please contact Ross Boseley on (01273) 764200, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.