Get tested for HIV, says sexual health doctor

Virgin Care’s sexual health doctor is urging people to get tested for HIV at their local sexual health centre.

Next week is National HIV Testing Week (Saturday 18 to Friday 24 November) and Virgin Care’s Sexual Health Services are encouraging people to get tested. The annual Testing Week raises awareness of HIV testing for everyone, and particularly for gay and bisexual men and black men and women who make up 70% of people in the UK living with HIV.

People can visit one of Virgin Care’s Sexual Health services in Teesside, North and North East Lincolnshire and in Oldham, Bury and Rochdale to get tested or they can simply use the organisation’s sexual health hub, a portal of information and advice, to get a free HIV postal testing kit to get tested at home.

The online service allows people to find their nearest clinic and book appointments at any time.

Dr Adeniyi Komolafe, HIV and GUM Consultant at Virgin Care’s Sexual Health Services, said: “About 70-90% of people living with HIV have no symptoms, which is why testing is so important, particularly if you change partners. HIV is found in the bodily fluids of an infected person: in their semen, vaginal and anal fluids and blood.

“Though there isn’t currently a cure for HIV it’s possible through effective treatment for people with the infection to live long and healthy lives. The best way to prevent infection is to always use a condom and never share needles or syringes or sex toys.

“An HIV test is quick and simple. It’s done using a sample of blood or saliva. Your local sexual health clinic will be able to test you.”

All services also give treatment and advice on sexual health issues, emergency contraception and free condoms.

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