HIV Prevention Community Team the Armistead Centre is raising awareness and encouraging people to educate themselves about HIV throughout National HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day.
The services are also encouraging anyone who is, or has been sexually active and feels they may be at risk of having contracted HIV, to get tested to improve early diagnosis rates, treatment access and reduce the risk of passing the virus on to others.
National HIV Testing Week began on Saturday (17 November), leading up to World AIDS Day which falls on 1 December.
Throughout the week, Armistead, run by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, will be involved in a range of activities and events across the city, aiming to provide information and advice on HIV.
HIV is a virus which attacks the body’s immune system and makes it difficult to fight off infections. It can be transmitted through bodily fluids and is most commonly caught by having sex without a condom or by sharing needles.
Currently there are 650 people in Liverpool diagnosed with the Virus and around a further 50 residents in the city diagnosed each year. It is also estimated that around 100-105 people remain undiagnosed amongst the local population.
In Liverpool 54 per cent of people presenting to services with HIV still do so at the late stage of the infection, therefore highlighting the importance of testing to ensure that people who acquire the Virus can start treatment as soon as possible and live full and healthy lives.
Joanne Lightwood, team leader at Mersey Care’s Armistead Centre said: “Although having a HIV test is a life changing decision for some people, the fantastic advancements in medication over recent year’s means that knowing your status as soon as possible can help people maintain a healthy life.
Rapid HIV Testing will be available on the following dates:
For further free and confidential information, advice or support on HIV, please contact the specialist HIV nurses 0151 295 8650, Armistead Centre 0151 247 6560