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Lancashire supports HIV Testing Week

Lancashire County Council is supporting national HIV Testing Week by encouraging people who are most likely to be affected by HIV to take a test.

Starting on Saturday 21 November, a number of events will be held across Lancashire.

HIV information and testing will be available at events in Lancaster, St Annes, Burnley, Preston and across Lancashire (See list below for times, dates and locations of events).

There are around 107,000 people living with HIV across the country and around 429 in Lancashire. Around a quarter of people with HIV are unaware they have it.

The main groups who are at risk of contracting HIV are men who have sex with men, and men and women from black African communities. HIV Testing Week, which is run by HIV Prevention England, focuses on encouraging these communities to take a test.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council’s director of public health, said: “We want to raise awareness of HIV testing and encourage people who are at risk, or those who are concerned they may have HIV, to take a test.

“It’s a subject that is once again in the news headlines with Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen confirming this week that he is living with HIV.

“It’s vital that we diagnose more people to help prevent them passing it on to others.

“Early diagnosis can also help ensure people have a much better chance of living healthily for many years. Although there is still no cure for HIV, there are effective treatments available and with the right drug therapy, people with HIV can have a life expectancy that almost matches that of people who are not infected.”

There are a number of places that offer HIV tests across Lancashire, including GUM clinics and your GP.

This week, Public Health England has also launched a free home HIV sampling kit, so that people can take a simple finger-prick test in the privacy of their own home. Lancashire County Council has invested in offering this service for those at higher risk on an ongoing basis, not just as part of HIV Testing Week. For more information, visit www.freetesting.hiv.

Dr Karunanithi added: “There are more and more convenient ways for people to get tested. The latest Public Health England sampling kit even allows you to test at home.

“We’ll continue to work to encourage more people to take tests in Lancashire and encourage people to practice safe sex and use condoms to stop the spread of HIVs and other infections.”

For more information about HIV Testing Week, visit www.hivpreventionengland.org.uk.

Testing is available throughout HIV Testing Week across Lancashire at the following locations:

• North Lancashire –

University of Cumbria Lancaster campus Tuesday 24th November 11.30am – 1.30pm
Fleetwood Library Wednesday 25th November 2015 10am – 11am
St Annes Library Wednesday 25th November 2015 2pm – 3pm

• Central Lancashire –

Oblivion Bar in Preston Saturday 21st November 9pm – 12 midnight
UCLAN Preston Opportunities Centre Monday 23rd November 9am – 1.30pm
Preston Women’s Centre Monday 23rd November 3pm – 4pm
Healthier Living office in Preston Wednesday 25th November 2pm – 4pm

• East Lancashire –

Burnley Library Monday 23rd November 10am – 12pm
GUM St Peter’s Medical Centre Burnley Monday 23rd November 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Burnley Women’s Centre Monday 23rd November 2pm – 4pm

• West Lancashire –

HIV testing by Healthier Living will be available in the near future. Should you need to have an HIV test prior to this please contact the GUM at Southport Hospital.

An HIV specialist will be available to answer any questions about HIV at:

Parbold Library Thursday 26th November 9am – 11am
Ormskirk Library Thursday 26th November 12pm – 2pm
Skelmersdale Library Thursday 26th November 3pm – 5pm

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