HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is running a rapid HIV testing day on Friday 20th May from 12pm – 7pm. The free event, held at THT’s Coventry centre (10 Manor Road), is being run to encourage more local people to get tested for HIV and reduce high levels of undiagnosed HIV in Coventry and the surrounding area.

At the end of 2009, there were 4,141 people diagnosed with HIV in the West Midlands. On top of this, one in four people with HIV in the region remain undiagnosed. People with undiagnosed HIV are not only putting their own health at serious risk, they are also more likely to pass the virus on than someone who has been diagnosed and started on treatment.

The clinic uses a finger-prick blood test to check for HIV, with the results provided within twenty minutes. Those who attend the clinic will be given information and advice before and after the test, and anyone who tests positive will be fast tracked into a treatment centre.

Ewan McPherson, Health Promotion Co-ordinator for THT in Coventry said: “With more people living with HIV in the Midlands than ever before, and a quarter of them undiagnosed, it’s vitally important we encourage more people to test and reduce the high number of people who don’t know that they have HIV.

“If someone is diagnosed in good time, advances in medication mean they can live a long and healthy life, but early diagnosis is vital to get the maximum benefit from treatment. Testing is quick, simple and confidential, and there are now far more reasons to know your HIV status than there are not to.”

At the session THT staff will offer information on STIs and safer sex, as well as giving out free condoms. For more information, please contact THT Coventry on 02476 229292 or email info.coventry@tht.org.uk.

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