People across Torbay are being urged to pledge to go red for HIV Testing Week (22-30 November 2014) and World AIDS Day (1 December 2014)

Torbay Council, which is the strategic lead for Public Health in the bay, has joined forces with The Eddystone Trust, the local HIV and sexual health charity, to promote better HIV awareness in the area.

There are an estimated 107,800 people in the UK living with HIV and it is estimated that one in four are unaware they have the condition.

The aim of HIV testing week is:

  • To increase testing among the most at-risk populations across England (these are men who have sex with men (MSM) and black African communities).
  • To increase awareness and acceptability of HIV testing among these groups
  • To increase access to HIV testing in both community and statutory settings in order to improve early diagnosis and treatment of HIV (and reduce ongoing transmission) among those most at risk.

Cllr Chris Lewis, Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“Addressing HIV and AIDS through reducing stigma, awareness and prevention, early testing and diagnosis are essential. HIV doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone. In Torbay, we remain committed to tackling HIV."

Mags Davies, Director of The Eddystone Trust, said: “We want to expand rapid HIV testing across the South West, work with our partners in health and faith organisations on testing and HIV, promote and increase professionals access to training and seminars on the topics of sexual health and HIV.

"During the week, we will be promoting the campaign on social media and working with all sorts of people in the local community. Being HIV aware is still important, you can show you are aware by pledging to wear a red ribbon.

“It is better to test sooner than later and don’t forget – testing early means that treatment is more likely to be successful."

Eddystone have also launched WADvent – a World AIDS Day Calendar using a series of social media messages throughout November with information on a range of topics related to HIV and AIDS.

You can register your pledge to wear a red ribbon and make a donation to support World AIDS Day and HIV Testing Week here: http://www.redribbonpledge.co.uk/

For more information on the Eddystone Trust go to www.eddystone.org.uk
Further detail is also at http://www.torbay.gov.uk/SM/twitter_com/hivsupport-adults

Facts about HIV:

• 42% of people diagnosed late with HIV in 2013; testing early is essential to increase the likelihood of successful treatment
• 1 in 10 new infections come from people recently infected
• Each new case of HIV costs the NHS £280,000 -£360,000 in a lifetime, or more for a late diagnosis.
• One in 665 people in the UK have HIV
• HIV does not discriminate

Local events:

Monday 24th November – community HIV Testing @ Harbour Works, Torquay TQ2 5EG 5.30-7.30pm 20 minute rapid result HIV Testing
Friday 28th November – Condom Run! Giving out information, advice and safer sex products across Torquay night life 6.30-9.30pm
Monday 1st December ‘Positive SW 2014’ event for people living with HIV

Notes to editors

World AIDS Day - World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988. http://www.worldaidsday.org/

It Starts With Me- HIV Prevention England runs the ‘It Starts With Me’ campaign which promotes safe sex and HIV testing to all, but also with materials targeted to specific audiences such as gay men and African men. For more information go to https://www.tht.org.uk/itstartswithme
European HIV Testing Week – The ultimate goal of European HIV Testing Week is to make more people aware of their HIV status and reduce late diagnosis by communicating the benefits of HIV testing. More information is at www.hivtestingweek.eu
For guidance on accurate reporting of HIV; please go to: http://www.eddystone.org.uk/media-centre/


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