As part of World AIDS Day and National HIV testing week testing people are being asked to wear a red ribbon show support.

The Eddystone Trust has launched #YourRibbonReasons, which is aimed at twitter users to promote the Red Ribbon Pledge campaign.

In 2013 there were 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, which increases the risk of onward transmission greatly. In 2014 there were approximately 85,000 people seen for HIV care and treatment.

The aim of the 4th National HIV testing week in 2015 is to
- emphasise the importance of taking personal responsibility for testing to protect your own health and to reduce the spread of HIV
- increase access to HIV testing in order to improve early diagnosis and treatment of HIV

Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing, Derek Mills, said: “It is extremely important to highlight the importance of taking personal responsibility for testing for HIV to ensure that your own health is protected and the health of others. Early diagnosis leads to early treatment which means a more positive outcome in terms of managing health and reducing the spread of HIV.”

Andrew Evans, Director of Operations of The Eddystone Trust, the local HIV and sexual health charity, said: “We aim to promote and increase HIV testing in all areas – look out for the national ‘It Starts With Me’ campaign which we are supporting and also our own local Keep ‘Calm and Wear One’ promotional materials.

“It is better to test sooner than later, we want to expand rapid HIV testing across the South West. We will be working with our health colleagues, faith organisations on testing and HIV, to promote and increase professionals’ access to training and seminars on the topics of sexual health and HIV, and we will be promoting the campaign on social media.

“We want to also want you join us in pledging to wear a red ribbon, to challenge the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV.”

Over 80% of people accept an HIV test when offered one by a healthcare professional. European testing week is promoting the characteristics of people who are diagnosed late, the consequences of it and how to overcome the barriers to testing. Also for 2015 it has been expanded to include Hepatitis testing.

Getting a test is easy, Eddystone is holding rapid result HIVtTesting in Torbay and you can get involved with no appointment necessary. This is taking place on Thursday 26 November between 5.30pm and 7.30pm at Endeavour House, Union Street Torquay, TQ2 5QS.

For more information please call 0800 3283 508 / 01752 254406 or visit www.eddystone.org.uk

Ends

Notes to Editors

Since Nov 2013, The Eddystone Trust has delivered over 200 rapid HIV tests across the South West with 2 reactive tests.

Facts about HIV:
• 25,872 people living with HIV in the UK who do not know it
• In the UK during 2014, 613 people with HIV died, most were diagnosed late
• 1 in 599 people in the UK have HIV and 1 in 6 of those are aged over 55
• A late diagnosis creates a 10fold increased risk of death with the 1st year of diagnosis
• Throughout Europe 54% of new infections are from those unaware of their status

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 and responsible reporting of HIV; please go to: http://www.eddystone.org.uk/media-centre/


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