Local services support National HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day

Liverpool Community Health (LCH) specialist HIV Community Nursing team, Armistead Centre, Sahir House and Royal Liverpool University Hospital Trust are raising awareness and encouraging people to educate themselves about HIV throughout National HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day.

The services are also encouraging anyone who is, or has been sexually active and feels they may be at risk of having contracted HIV to get tested, in order to improve early diagnosis rates, treatment access and reduce the risk of passing the virus onto others.

National HIV Testing Week takes place in the last week of November leading up to World AIDS Day which falls on 1 December 2015. Throughout the week the organisations will be involved with a range of activities and events across the city aiming to provide information and advice on HIV.
HIV is a virus which attacks the body’s immune system and makes it difficult to fight off infections. It can be transmitted through bodily fluids and is most commonly caught by having sex without a condom or by sharing needles.

Almost 110,000 people are living with HIV in the UK, but statistics also show that as many as 1 in 4 are unaware they have it. According to figures from Sahir House, a Liverpool charity which supports people affected by HIV, there has been a 20% increase of new infections compared to last year.

Martin Fenerty, Operational Manager for LCH’s Armistead Centre said “Because there have been so many medical advances in the treatment of HIV, namely effective medication which suppresses the virus which keeps people well, a lot of people mistakenly think that the issue of HIV has gone away.”

Tommy McIlravey Sahir House CEO said, “The rates of HIV infection are increasing and Sahir House see on average 2 new people diagnosed with HIV each week. It is so important to know your HIV status, for many reasons, but mainly to keep yourself well. Access to HIV testing is now very simple, quick and free.”

Pauline Jelliman Clinical Lead HIV Cmmunity Nursing service comments “there have been huge advances in medicine and science informed by landmark studies to suggest elimination of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. As well as optimising treatment and testing, stigma stubbornly lingers, and it is this which truly needs addressing on all levels by all people.”

Confidential HIV testing including Rapid HIV tests will be taking place throughout National HIV Testing Week and Worlds AIDS Day. Rapid HIV testing is a quick and simple finger prick test which will allow patients to receive their results on the same day.
Rapid HIV testing will be available on the following dates:

• Friday 20th November 2015, 1.00pm-4.00pm, Alien Sex Club, Camp and Furnace, Greenland Street, L1 0BY
• Saturday 21st November 2015, 1.00pm-4.00pm, Alien Sex Club, Camp and Furnace, Greenland Street, L1 0BY
• Tuesday 24th November 2015, 11.00am-3.00pm, Health Information Centre, Hanover Street, L1 4AF (Rapid Testing available)
• Wednesday 25th November 2015, 12.00pm-8.00pm, Armistead Centre, Hanover Street,
L1 4AF (Rapid Testing available)
• Thursday 26th November 2015, 11.00am-3.00pm, Health Information Centre, Hanover Street, L1 4AF (Rapid Testing available)
• Friday 27th November 2015, 5.00pm-7.00pm, Alien Sex Club, Camp and Furnace, Greenland Street, L1 0BY
• Saturday 28th November 2015, 1.00pm-4.00pm, Alien Sex Club, Camp and Furnace, Greenland Street, L1 0BY
• Wednesday 2nd December 2015, 11.00am-3.00pm, St Bride’s Church, Percy Street, L8 7LT

Drop in sessions and the outreach services at the Armistead Centre will be focussing on National HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day.

Staff from the services will also have information stalls to raise awareness at the following locations:

• Monday 23rd November 2015, 11.00am-1.00pm, City of Liverpool College, Vauxhall Road,
L3 6BN
• Tuesday 24th November 2015, 9.00am-12.00pm, Liverpool Mutual Homes Offices
• Tuesday 24th November 2015, 10.00am-2.00pm, City of Liverpool College, Clarence Street,
L3 5TP
• Wednesday 25th November 2015, 10.00am-1.30pm, City of Liverpool College, Arts Centre,
L7 7JA
• Thursday 26th November 2015, 10.00am-1.30pm, City of Liverpool College, Learning Exchange, L1 9DW
• Friday 27th November 2015, 9.00am-4.00pm, Barclays, Wavertree Technology Park, L7 9PQ
• Friday 17th November 2015, 9.00am-2.00pm, Royal Liverpool Hospital, Prescot Street, L7 8XP
• Monday 30th November 2015, 1.00pm-4.00pm, Various LCH Sites
• Tuesday 1st December 2015, 11.00am-1.00pm, City of Liverpool College, Duke Street, L1 5BG

A Worlds AIDS Day event will take place on 1st December in St. George’s Hall. It is a free event that will include testimonies from people living with HIV and reading of remembrance list by candle light. The event is free with doors opening at 4.00pm and the event taking place 5.00pm-6.30pm.

Sahir House volunteers will be at James Street Station and Central Station on 30th Nov and 1st Dec giving out Red Ribbons- the Red Ribbon is a universal symbol of awareness and support of those living with HIV.

For further free and confidential information, advice or support on HIV, please contact LCH specialist HIV nurses on 0151 295 8650, Armistead Centre on 0151 247 6560 or Sahir House on 0151 237 3989.

You can also follow services on Twitter @ArmisteadCentre and @SahirHouse and take part in the conversation using #WADmerseyside.