National HIV testing week is taking place from Saturday 18 November to Friday 24 November 2017 and sexually active people across Swindon are being encouraged to take a quick and simple test to find out their HIV status to enable them to seek early treatment if needed.

The purpose of the week is to promote regular testing among the most affected population groups and to reduce the rates of undiagnosed HIV and those diagnosed late.  HIV testing is free, fast, confidential and simple – you can even do it at home. To order your free self-sampling kit you can use at home visit www.test.hiv

The sexual health team from GWH will have an information stand in the atrium of GWH all week which will be manned from 11am-3pm each day. We will have staff on hand to answer questions and information and leaflets about the “Give HIV the finger” testing campaign for finger prick sampling at home. We will have our giant fluffy STI’s on hand for anyone who would like to learn more or take a selfie.

Sophie Forsyth, Sexual Health Consultant, said: “We will have staff on hand to answer questions and information and leaflets about the “Give HIV the finger” testing campaign for finger prick sampling at home.

“We will also have our giant fluffy STIs on hand for anyone who would like to learn more or take a selfie.

“Of course, testing is not just available in this one week, our services are available all year and we’d encourage anybody concerned about their health to visit us at the Great Western Hospital or at our base in the new Swindon NHS Health Centre.”

Councillor Brian Ford, Cabinet Member for Adults’ Health and Social Care said: “We really encourage anyone who thinks they may be at risk to make use of the free home sampling kits. We know that HIV effects people from all walks of life in Swindon so we urge everyone to treat this seriously and get tested to avoid unwanted spreading of the illness.”

Gill May, Executive Nurse from Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It is important that we dispel the stigma that surrounds HIV-testing.  Self-testing is a quick, easy and private option for people to find out their HIV status.”

National HIV Testing Week is run by Terrence Higgins Trust on behalf of HIV Prevention England, with support and participation from organisations in the public, statutory and private sectors. The week promotes the benefits of regular testing and treatment for both the individual and community, particularly by those most at risk of HIV, including men who have sex with men, and black African people.

Find out more about HIV testing at www.startswithme.org.uk