Health campaigners are urging people to get tested for HIV regularly.
National HIV testing week encourages regular testing as a way to reduce the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV and those diagnosed late.
The campaign continues last year’s success and features celebrities and influencers promoting ‘Give HIV the finger: a finger-prick test is all it takes’.
Dr Victoria Watson has worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) HIV Self-Testing Technical Working Group.
She is leading the campaign within Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and is encouraging people locally to get tested, with free finger prick self-tests that are available to collect from LSTM’s Well Travelled Clinic in Pembroke Place.
She said: “Testing and treatment is free and available to everyone in the UK, however a high number of individuals in the UK remain undiagnosed and rates of late diagnosis remain high in Liverpool (approximately 50%).
“Since the highest number of new infections are passed on ‘unknowingly’ before treatment is initiated, early HIV diagnosis is crucial in prevention of new infections.
“If everyone knew their HIV status, we could potentially eradicate new diagnoses by 2030! How wonderful that would be! Getting tested today means no new transmissions tomorrow.
It’s estimated that there are more than 106,000 people living with HIV in the UK and from those 5,150 remain undiagnosed.
By testing regularly, the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV and those diagnosed late can be reduced.
Sahir House Liverpool, are offering Free HIV Self Tests available today, February 8, Wednesday and Thursday at 151 Dale Street L2 2AH between 11am and 2pm.
The charity increases HIV and sexual health knowledge and reduces stigma
It also campaigns for the rights of those living with HIV and related intersectionalities (gender, sexuality, asylum status).
People have been sharing their story on social media.
One twitter user said: “I tested HIV+ 11 years ago this month. Because I was diagnosed I was able to access treatment that saved my life. I’m undetectable which means the virus is untransmittable.
“Let’s smash the stigma and end HIV.”
Liverpool MP Kim Johnson has also supported the campaign to promote testing.
It's National HIV Testing Week!
Testing for HIV is quick, easy and free. You can even do it at home. Whatever you do this National #HIVTestingWeek, make sure you give HIV the finger and get tested Up pointing index@THTorguk pic.twitter.com/fH4HdyjEuA
— Kim Johnson MP (@KimJohnsonMP) February 8, 2022