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National HIV Testing Week takes place from 16 to 22 November and is run by Terrence Higgins Trust on behalf of HIV Prevention England (HPE).
The week encourages people be tested for HIV, particularly those from the most at-risk groups, including men who have sex with men (MSM) and black African men and women.
This year, the campaign is calling on people to ‘Give HIV the finger’ by taking a simple, painless and quick finger prick HIV test.
Clinics are held at discreet centres, and for those that do not wish to see someone face to face, the option of ordering a free home sampling kit.
Terrence Higgins Trust, the UKs leading HIV and sexual health charity, will be offering people the chance to get tested by providing free, confidential rapid HIV testing across Essex.
Testing for HIV puts you in control and, thanks to treatment, will stop you from getting seriously ill, enable you to live a normal lifespan and prevent you from passing the virus on to anyone else.
Terrence Higgins Trust will have an information stand at Grays Civic Offices, New Road, Monday 18 November 10.00am-3.00pm where staff will be informing the public about the benefits of testing and distributing condoms which is the most effective barrier to prevent transmission.
There will also be a private room where people will have the opportunity to take a simple and confidential finger prick test for HIV which gives a results within a few minutes.
Terrence Higgins Trust will also be back promoting testing in Grays on Thursday 21 November, this time hosting an information stand in Grays Shopping Centre, and offering private and confidential finger prick testing at Thurrock Health Centre, 10.00am-4.00pm.
Sophie Milner, Service Manager, Terrence Higgins Trust said:
‘We’re really excited about National HIV Testing Week as it enables us to raise awareness of the benefits of testing, and expand opportunities for testing locally.
‘Today, if you test positive, effective treatment means you can live as long as anyone else, and when the amount of the virus in your blood is reduced to undetectable levels, this means you cannot pass on HIV. Testing puts you in control and is nothing to be feared.’
Thurrock residents can also access the Thurrock Sexual Health Service ‘Test at Home’ system for HIV. It can be ordered online from the Thurrock Sexual Health Service website. For more information about sexual health or to book an appointment for testing, please visit tshs.org.uk or phone 0300 309 9970.
’Test at Home’ is also available for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis. The results are sent by text. Additionally you can test for HIV at Thurrock Sexual Health Service clinics across the county.