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National HIV Testing Week 2021

"National HIV Testing Week launches with free postal testing”


National Testing Week, which runs from Monday 1st February to Sunday 7th February, across Somerset has a focus on testing at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Self-test kits can be ordered https://freetesting.hiv/ and are being offered to anyone over the age of sixteen. This is in addition to full STI kits offered by SWISH already.
The teams at SWISH services, The Eddystone Trust and Public health at Somerset County Council are now urging residents to find out their status by ordering a finger prick test which is quick and easy to use.


There are currently 278 people living with HIV in Somerset, 97% of whom take medication to control the virus and prevent them passing it on to anyone else. Testing for HIV puts you in control and, thanks to treatment, will stop you from getting seriously ill and enable you to live a normal lifespan.

James Mead, Development Lead for HIV Prevention at The Eddystone Trust said: “Lockdown has meant that most people have had fewer sexual partners, if any at all, and now is the perfect time to be sure you know your HIV status. The week encourages people to have a free, quick and confidential HIV test, particularly those in groups most affected by HIV, including men who have sex with men and black African men and women”.

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council, said: “This National HIV Testing Week, we’re encouraging people to get tested for HIV from the comfort of their own homes. You can order a FREE HIV self-test kit straight to your door, equipped with detail instructions on how to use”.
“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 isn’t something to be afraid of.”


For more information about Somerset’s sexual health services including SWISH and The Eddystone Trust visit:
www.swishservices.co.uk   Tel. 0300 124 5010.
The Eddystone Trust
www.eddystone.org.uk
 For more information on the national campaign:
www.startswithme.org.uk