Published On: Thu, Nov 20th, 2014 on 12:30 pm

HIV infections rise: 1 in 4 in Calderdale unaware they have it

HIV

Nearly 110,000 people are living with HIV in the UK, according to a new report published by Public Health England (PHE) on 18 November.

According to Calderdale Council, 1 in 4 people living with the virus in Calderdale don’t even know they have it because they have not been checked.

62% of local people surveyed didn’t even know how HIV can be passed on.

To mark the start of National HIV Testing Week on 22 November, Calderdale Council will be sending out messages that anyone could be at risk of HIV, particularly those who are having unprotected sexual intercourse, babies receiving breast milk from HIV positive mothers and those sharing needles.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Social Care, Cllr Ann McAllister, said: “In Calderdale, nearly 65% of people are diagnosed ‘late’, when their treatment should have already started. This puts them at risk of serious illness and reduced life expectancy, and increases the risk of HIV being passed on to others.

“We’re urging local men and women who have ever had unprotected sex to get checked if they haven’t already. It’s a very quick and simple test. It can mean facing difficult decisions but it’s better to know and get treatment early.”

Free and confidential HIV tests are provided by the Brunswick Centre in Calderdale, a charity that the Council commissions to provide HIV testing, advice and condoms to prevent HIV.

A drop-in session will also be held on 22 November from 2pm to 4pm (no appointment necessary) at the Resource Centre on Hall Street, Halifax.

HIV testing drop-in sessions are also provided for free at the St Augustine’s Centre from 12pm to 1pm on the fourth Tuesday of every month, or you can call the Brunswick Centre on 01422 341764 to make an appointment.

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