Positive or negative, everyone has an HIV status. NHS Tayside is supporting a new Scottish campaign asking people “do you know yours?” with HIV tests on offer across Tayside throughout HIV Testing Week Scotland (November 18-25).
Dr Sarah Allstaff, Lead Clinician for Sexual Health said: “Across Scotland, there are an estimated 6,150 people living with HIV, one in six of whom are unaware of their infection. Today, we have highly effective treatment for HIV, which not only keeps people well but means that individuals on treatment are highly unlikely to transmit the infection to others. The majority of new infections in Scotland today are linked to individuals who don’t know they have the virus.
“NHS Tayside is supporting HIV Testing Week Scotland, which runs from November 18-25. We want to increase awareness of HIV testing, highlight how and where you can get tested, as well as encouraging people to test regularly.
“There are many ways you can access HIV testing including at sexual health clinics, your GP and in community testing venues across Tayside, and by accessing self-testing kits.
“Having an HIV test has never been easier. Knowledge is power. There is only one way to know your HIV status and that is to have a test. Knowing that you are HIV negative can empower you to remain HIV negative, whilst knowing that you are HIV positive allows you to access care which will keep you well.
“We will be joining forces with Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland to offer HIV tests at locations across Tayside from Monday 21 until Friday, November 25. There are also a number of events planned for World AIDS Day on Thursday, December 1, including a testing event at Klozet from 4-7pm and a civic reception at Dundee City Chambers to remember everyone that has been affected by HIV, to celebrate how far we’ve come in the fight against HIV, but also how far we’ve still got to go.”
Graeme Cockburn, Health Promotion Officer with NHS Tayside said: “This year, in the run up to World AIDS Day, we are encouraging everyone to wear a red ribbon, to add a ‘Twibbon’ to their social media profile picture to show their support. Everyone should learn the facts about HIV and act on them and know their status.”
You can find out more about the campaign, and what’s going on locally, by visiting www.HIVTestWeek.scot. You can also add your support to the campaign by adding the HIV Testing Week Scotland Twibbon to your social media profiles and by sharing #TestWeekScot tweets.