Residents urged to get tested this HIV week
Next week sees the start of National HIV testing week (24-28 November) and HIV testing sessions are being extended across the district.
In the Wakefield district, between 20-25 people per year are diagnosed with the human immune deficiency virus (HIV), and there are approximately 230 people in the district living with the infection. Around 25% of those with HIV infection are unaware of their infection and may be inadvertently passing the infection onto others.
Dr Andrew Furber, Director of Public Health at Wakefield Council said: "HIV is a virus which attacks the immune system affecting the body's defence against diseases and can be passed on through infected bodily fluids.
"During this National HIV week, it is extremely important that we raise awareness of this disease and make sure people are in control of their health.
"I urge anybody who has concerns about their sexual health to get tested immediately. This can be done at many of the clinics open throughout HIV testing week, with results provided usually within a few days. After HIV testing week has finished you can also request an HIV test at local sexual health clinics and GP surgeries."
Cllr Pat Garbutt, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health said: "We are committed to help improve adult health and wellbeing in the district and these clinics will make it more convenient for residents to get tested."
Testing for HIV will enable health professionals to provide treatment to prevent the infection being passed onto others. The sooner a test is done, the more effective treatments will be.
Throughout National HIV week the following drop in clinics will be available:
- Josephine Butler Centre, Kind Street, Wakefield, from 24-28 November between 12.20pm – 1.30pm or ring 01977 747902 to book an appointment
- Castleford Clinic, Pontefract Hospital, Pontefract, from 24-28 November between 12-1pm or ring 01977 747902 to book an appointment
- Terrence Higgins Trust, Kinsley and Fitzwilliam Community Resource Centre, Pontefract, on Saturday November 29 between 11-2pm or Monday December 1 between 1-3pm at the Agbrigg and Belle Vue Community Centre in Wakefield or ring 01977 614 120 to book an appointment.
- Spectrum drop in sessions at Xscape on Friday November 28 from 4-10pm.
For more information on HIV and sexual health visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/hivtesting or www.wfact.co.uk/stis/
Anyone affected by HIV or for further information on HIV, including details on which groups face a higher risk, visit www.nhs.uk/livewell/STIs/Pahes/HIV.aspx
Support is also available from Yorkshire MESMAC in Wakefield which delivers over 60 hours of free, confidential and rapid HIV testing sessions as a key member of HIV Prevention England for National HIV Testing Week. They have online drop-in sessions via www.mesmac.co.uk/testing-times-session-calendar or appointments can be booked by calling 01924 211 116.