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26/11/18

Bradford district and Craven marks World AIDS Day

Healthcare workers across the Bradford district and Craven are marking World AIDS day to raise awareness of the importance of testing and to end the stigma of the condition.

Staff at Bevan Healthcare are marking the day by celebrating how far testing and treatment have come since the 1980s and commemorating those who have lost their battle with HIV and AIDS by holding a minutes silence.

They’ve also come together to create a human World AIDS day ribbon in solidarity with those who have HIV across the district and their families.

BevanHealthcareWAD18_2L

Dominic Maddocks, outreach coordinator at Bevan Healthcare, organised the commemoration and said:

“The work done to tackle HIV and AIDS has led to HIV diagnoses falling - meaning the spread of the virus is slowing down.

“But we cannot be complacent and people still face discrimination for their status. There are still people living with HIV across the district and, although there is no cure, there are effective treatments to control the infection.

“Nearly half of people whose test is reactive are finding out they have HIV very late, meaning the virus may have damaged their health permanently.

“HIV means you are more likely to live in poverty, hardship, inequality and have poor mental health. There is no reason why anyone who has a reactive test shouldn’t live a full and active life.”

Dr Anne Connolly, clinical lead for sexual health for Bradford district and Craven CCGs, said:

“It’s really important to remember that HIV hasn’t gone away. We would encourage more people to be sure of their status by having a test particularly if they have changed their partner.

“Get tested and be sure at your local GP surgery or at the Locala sexual health clinic.

“You can only be certain you have HIV if you have a blood test that looks specifically for the virus. Many people newly infected with HIV have no signs or symptoms at all, so the only way to find out if you have HIV is to have a blood test.

“The result will let you know if you need to carryon on taking precautions to protect yourself against HIV or if you need to start life-saving treatment and avoid spreading the virus to someone else.”

One-in-four people with HIV don’t know they have it but they account for 75 per cent of new transmissions. Only once people know they have HIV can they get treatment and become less infectious.

Access to HIV care and treatment in the UK are much more successful than they used to be, enabling people with HIV to lead as normal a life as possible.

To find out where to get your nearest HIV test visit: http://www.aidsmap.com/hiv-test-finder or for more information visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hiv-and-aids/.

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