Hospital chief encourages HIV testing across Leeds
24 November 2014
As part of National HIV testing week, which takes place between 22 – 30 November, health experts in Leeds will be engaging people living in ‘high risk’ areas of the city and encouraging them to get tested.
Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Julian Hartley, showed his support for the campaign by touring the sexual health clinic based at the LGI to find out more about prevalence in the city and how the Trust is working with both NHS and community partners to highlight the issue.
With one in 500 people testing positive for HIV, Leeds is a key priority for reducing rates of infection after becoming the only ‘High Prevalence’ area for HIV in the Yorkshire and Humberside region in 2012.
Clinicians aim to ensure that people living with HIV are aware that they have the condition and the best ways to treat the virus and prevent its spread. By discovering HIV early the NHS can save around £350,000 per person, meaning that resources can be used more effectively and more cash put into research.
Julian Hartley said "Many people still associate HIV with the stigma that was attached to it when the disease first became widespread in the early 1980s. What we’re hoping to do here in Leeds is break that stigma and encourage people who are at higher risk of contracting the condition to get tested."
Dr Amy Evans, Lead Clinician for Sexual Health at the LGI, said “We are looking to encourage as many people as we can between the ages of 15 to 59 to get tested.
"By discovering HIV earlier on, we can ensure that treatment is much more effective and help people to live virtually normal and healthy lives. It also means that we can be there to support people right through their patient journey and answer any and all the questions they may have."
"Working with community partners, MESMAC and BHA Skyline, we aim to test many more people than last year by visiting more of the city’s ‘high risk’ areas. We also hope to increase awareness and make sure that everyone is aware of how to prevent the spread."
For more information and to find out when and where you can get tested, please click here.