By ANISAH ARIF
Chief Executive of Kirklees Council and the Strategic Director for Corporate and Public Health took the Aids test to show support for the day.
Jacqui Gedman and Rachel Spencer-Henshall have shown their support for World Aids Day and HIV Testing by taking the simple finger prick test themselves.
They took the five second test when teaming up with Brunswick Centre staff to raise awareness of being tested.
A number of extra sessions were run during HIV Testing Week across the borough to help residents access support and get advice on preventing HIV infection.
Pic: Rachel Spencer Hensh and Jacqui Gedman
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Corporate Strategy and Public Health said: “Getting tested is so simple and everyone should make the effort to get tested. Knowing If you have HIV can help protect both yourself and partners. HIV treatment today has made significant advances and early intervention can be life-changing.
“We know there are still inhibitions about being tested and hopefully we can show it’s not frightening or to be ignored”.
The NHS have expressed concern that certain groups of people are at particularly high risk of HIV and are advised to have regular tests, these include men who have sex with men, black African men and women, and people who share needles and other injecting equipment. People who are sexual partners with people from these groups may also be at increased risk of HIV.
Together with the NHS and partners, Kirklees Council has listed some useful tips on Kirklees Together:
Be sure of your status
Testing is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV or not. People sometimes live for years, unaware that they have it. If you’ve never been tested, or it’s been more than a year since your last test, it’s a good idea to have one. If you’re sexually active, yearly testing is recommended, or more often if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner.
If you’re worried you’ve taken risks, a test can put your mind at ease and end the worries.
What is involved with a HIV test?
Having a test can be as simple as a finger-prick test at the Brunswick Centre. If the result is positive for HIV you will be referred to the sexual health clinic for a confirmatory test. You can also test for HIV in the sexual health clinics named above, your GP or even in your own home by ordering a home testing kit.
If the test result is negative, you can take action to keep it that way. If it is positive, you can get treatment that keeps you healthy and prevents serious illnesses. When you are on effective treatment you will not pass on HIV. When people are tested and diagnosed late, their chance of survival is drastically reduced and can lead to death. There is more information about HIV treatment to help you stay well on the i-base website:
If you don’t know you have HIV, you can’t take any steps to prevent passing it on to your partner – like getting treatment, using condoms or finding out about PrEP (a type of medication).
How can I get the treatment and support I will need?
In the UK, HIV medication and medical care is free. If you have HIV, the sooner you start treatment, the better it is for your health. Taking HIV medication as prescribed and getting an undetectable viral load means you can’t pass on HIV to your partner, even without a condom. If you test positive, there’s a wealth of information and support to help you live well with HIV.
Local residents can get tested at The Brunswick Centre in Huddersfield (01484 469691), or Locala Sexual Health who are based at Huddersfield Princess Royal Health Centre and Dewsbury Health Centre. They do quick testing in a number of different places or you can make an appointment. The test is free, confidential and for anyone aged 16 or over.