Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd took an HIV test this week to raise awareness of the country’s first ever National HIV Testing Week.
Mr Lloyd, who took the test at sexual health clinic Avenue House, said, “National HIV Testing Week is a great way of shining a light on the importance of HIV testing.
“I am delighted to show my support by highlighting just how quick and simple taking an HIV test can be.”
The result of an HIV test is delivered just 20 minutes after a finger-prick blood test.
The new week has been launched by Terrence Higgins Trust and ran from 23-30.
The initiative aims to encourage people at high risk of HIV to get tested in the run up to World AIDS Day (December 1).
Daniel Murray from Terrence Higgins Trust in East Sussex said, “It’s fantastic that our Eastbourne MP is helping us to put National HIV Testing Week on the map.
“People with undiagnosed HIV are not only putting their own health at risk, they are also more likely to pass the virus on unwittingly.
“It’s vital we encourage more people, particularly those at increased risk of HIV, to get tested.”
More than 4,800 people were accessing care for HIV in the South East Coast region of England in 2011. However, more than a quarter people with HIV in the UK are undiagnosed and therefore at risk of serious health problems.
Mr Lloyd and Eastbourne’s mayor Mike Thompson will lead the annual World Aids Day Parade taking place on December 1 and departing from Eastbourne Town Hall at 6pm.
The event is a chance to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS. As part of the charity’s events programme this World AIDS Day, THT is also putting on a special testing event in partnership with Avenue House on December 1 (2pm-5pm) at The Hart pub for gay and bisexual men to attend for free, confidential and rapid HIV tests without any need to make any prior appointment.
Avenue House is open Monday-Friday, from 8am-7.15pm, on a drop-in basis. Call 416100.