MP will take an HIV test to mark awareness week

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has volunteered to take a public HIV tests today (Friday) to help a charity raise awareness of the need to get checked out.

The Lib Dem has joined forces with the town’s sexual health clinic to highlight England’s first ever National HIV Testing Week and he will pop into the service’s HQ in at Avenue House for a simple finger-prick blood test.

Mr Lloyd will then face a wait of just 20 minutes before finding out the results.

The new awareness week has been launched by the Terrence Higgins Trust and runs from today until next Friday. The aim is to encourage people at high risk of HIV to get tested in the run up to World AIDS Day on December 1.

More than 4,800 people were accessing care for HIV on the south east coast in 2011. However, more than a quarter people with HIV in the UK are undiagnosed and therefore at risk of serious health problems.

Avenue House sexual health clinic offers a fully integrated sexually transmitted infection, contraceptive and HIV service. It is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 7.15pm, on a drop in basis.

And Mr Lloyd thinks it is a service more people should take advantage of. He 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.”

Daniel Murray, from Terrence Higgins Trust in East Sussex, said, “It’s fantastic that our Eastbourne MP is helping us. 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.”

For more information about Avenue House call 416100.