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July 14, 2023

National HIV Testing Week launches in Essex with free rapid HIV testing available across the county

National HIV Testing Week starts today (Monday 6 February) across Essex with a focus on Tackling rates of undiagnosed HIV.

Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, will be offering access to Free and confidential Rapid HIV Testing in Chelmsford, Colchester, Harlow, Basildon and Thurrock throughout the week.

To find out more or book an appointment to test contact essex@tht.org.uk

Testing for HIV puts you in control and, thanks to treatment, will stop you from getting ill, enable you to live a normal lifespan and prevent you from passing the virus on to anyone else.

National HIV Testing Week, which runs from Monday 6 to Sunday 12 February, is coordinated by Terrence Higgins Trust on behalf of the Department of Health & Social Care.

The week encourages people to test for HIV, particularly those from the groups most affected by HIV, including gay and bisexual men and black African men and women.

Lewis Davey, Senior Practitioner at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: ‘This National HIV Testing Week we’re encouraging people to quickly and easily get tested.

Getting tested regularly should be something we’re all doing in order to protect ourselves.’ ‘Testing for HIV is quick and easy. If your results come back positive, we can offer all the support, advice and information you need.

People living with HIV and on effective treatment can not only live long fulfilled lives after, but they also can’t pass on the virus to others. Effective HIV treatment works by reducing the amount of the virus in the blood to undetectable levels. This means that the levels of HIV become so low that the virus cannot be passed on.

‘Testing is nothing to be feared or embarrassed about. There is nothing embarrassing about making sure your sexual health is a priority.

Terrence Higgins Trust provides support, information and advice services for those living with HIV and affected by HIV or poor sexual health.

Terrence Higgins Trust are specialist partners within the Essex and Thurrock Sexual Health Services. To contact THT Essex & Thurrock email: essex@tht.org.uk

For full sexual health screening or to access contraception services please contact the Essex Sexual Health Service 0300 003 1212 or the Thurrock Sexual Health Service 0300 303 9970.

For more information about National HIV Testing Week, go to: www.startswithme.org.uk/

ENDS

For more information please contact press@tht.org.uk or 079 5781 2691

Notes to editors
About National HIV Testing Week
• National HIV Testing Week (NHTW) promotes HIV testing, including the opportunity to order a free HIV test kit to do at home from startswithme.org.uk
• The hashtag for this year’s National HIV Testing Week is #HIVTestingWeek

HIV facts
• HIV is a virus which attacks the immune system and weakens the body’s ability to fight infections.
• HIV treatment lowers the amount of virus in the blood to undetectable levels which stops it from damaging the immune system, and means the virus cannot be passed on to other people
• There is still a great deal of stigma about HIV. Stigma is damaging as it prevents people from getting tested, from accessing treatment and from living a happy and healthy life
• The most common way HIV is transmitted is through sex without a condom.
• You cannot get HIV through casual or day-to-day contact, or kissing, spitting or sharing a cup, plate or toilet seat

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