Visitors to Walsall Manor Hospital will be able to speak to sexual health staff today as part of national HIV Testing Week.
The annual focus aims to promote regular testing among groups of people with particularly high late diagnoses rates including:
Black African adults
Those aged 50 and older
But it is also an opportunity to dispel myths about HIV and encourage people to look after their sexual health and wellbeing.
Gaynor Quinn, HIV Sister with WiSH (Walsall integrated Sexual Health) said: “HIV home testing kits are available via our website and this testing week is about supporting people to know their HIV status.
“People can live well with HIV – a diagnosis is absolutely not the end of the world. People can still expect a long life thanks to the medical advances that have been made and ongoing research.”
Visitors to today’s stand which is in Costa Coffee until 12noon can also find out more about the availability of PEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) which is a combination of drugs that can stop the HIV virus taking hold. It can be used after the event if people have put themselves at risk of HIV transmission.
Gaynor added: “There are still some myths and misconceptions around HIV and it’s important that people have access to accurate information. One of the biggest increases we’re seeing nationally is the increase in post-menopausal women who are HIV positive. As they enter a new phase in their lives and may be starting new relationships safe sex may not be uppermost on their minds as they have previously been focused on avoiding pregnancy.”
To find out more visit Walsall healthcare’s WiSH website www.walsallsexualhealth.co.uk