National HIV Testing Week

Somerset County Council Public Health are urging people who may be at risk of HIV to take a free and confidential test as part of National HIV Testing Week (21st-28th November 2015).

Although Somerset has a relatively small number of people with the condition Public Health are concerned with the number of adults who are being diagnosed at a late stage. Early detection and treatment,  as with many conditions,  gives a much better health outcome.

The two groups most affected remain gay and bisexual men and black African heterosexuals and latest national figures show there were 3,650 new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men last year. 2,490 new HIV diagnoses were acquired heterosexually and 59% of them acquired their infection in the UK.

Free and confidential tests can be obtained at the following sexual health clinics:

GUM Clinic Musgrove Park Hospital: Monday – Friday appointments with a walk in clinic on Monday 3.30pm – 5pm and Wednesday 9am – 11am. Tel 01823 344888.

GUM Clinic Yeovil District Hospital: Appointments Monday – Thursday with a walk in on Friday 9am – 11am. Tel 01935 384382.

MASH Clinic Frome Medical Centre: Wednesday 25th 3pm – 5pm. Tel 01373 301301.

Bridgwater Hospital Saturday 28th walk in 9.30am – 11am. Tel 01823 344888.

WISH Clinic Weston Super Mare Hospital: Appointments Monday – Saturday. Tel 01934 881234.

GUM Clinic Bath Royal United Hospital: Appointments Monday – Friday with a walk in on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8.15am – 11am. Tel 01225 824617.

Cllr Anna Groskop, Somerset County Council, Cabinet Member with responsibility for health said: “Although Somerset doesn’t have high numbers of people who live with HIV we are concerned with the number of adults who are being diagnosed at a late stage of the infection. Early detection and treatment, as with many conditions, gives a much better outcome.

“Modern treatments are highly effective allowing people nowadays to live with HIV. It is so much better to get tested rather than keep putting it off. Having a Nation Testing week is a great opportunity to raise awareness and encourage those most at risk to take a test”.

Dr. Christian Jesson of the BAFTA award winning “Embarrassing Bodies” is this year’s National HIV Testing Week Ambassador and introduces “Take our simple test to see if you’ve put yourself at risk of HIV” on
http://www.hivaware.org.uk/. The site also includes lots of useful information on HIV.

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For more information, contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk.