Building on the success of Yorkshire MESMAC’s ‘Yorkshire Know Your HIV Status Day’, the 23rd to the 30th of November will see the first National HIV Testing Week – a new initiative of HIV Prevention England (HPE).

Both Yorkshire MESMAC and the Black Health Agency will be running HIV testing drop-ins at various locations throughout Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and North Yorkshire and encouraging African and Men who have sex with Men (MSM) communities to test regularly for HIV. This will be complementary to local sexual health clinics services who are also working with Yorkshire MESMAC, putting on extra testing sessions across the region.

People can visit and complete a short survey to receive personalised advice about testing for HIV including how regularly they should test. The ThinkHIV website will be able to direct you to any clinic that provides testing in the country.

Tom Doyle, Chief Executive of Yorkshire MESMAC said: “The sooner you know your HIV status the better it is for your health. If you don’t have HIV, you can stop worrying and we can help you develop strategies for the future to help you manage your risks. If you have HIV, treatment’s never been so effective and the sooner you know, the more choices you have.”

Being on treatment means that a person is less infectious and so is less likely to pass on HIV to partners. “We are in the privileged position in England that HIV treatments are free for everyone regardless of immigration status” says Doyle. “What we haven’t been so great about is getting people to test in the first place. This is why we set up our fast, free and flexible HIV testing services in York, Scarborough, Wakefield, Bradford and Leeds.

During National HIV Testing Week we will be working with partners across West and North Yorkshire to increase the places and times you can get an HIV test.”

One in four Africans with HIV do not know they have HIV. Among Africans diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2010, 66 per cent of men and 61 per cent of women were diagnosed late, when they should already have started treatment. People diagnosed late are nine times more likely to die within a year of receiving their diagnosis than someone who tests early.

In gay and bisexual men, one in four men with HIV do not know they have HIV. Evidence suggests that recently infected men who are unaware that they have HIV are a major contributor to the onwards transmission of HIV within their community.

For more information about local HIV testing opportunities visit or call Mark Tyson on 07955 005 113 to make an appointment.

Categories: News

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