Supporting World AIDS Day – 1 December 2015

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We will be supporting World AIDS Day along with the Brunswick Centre on Tuesday 1 December to raise awareness of HIV and dispel some of the myths about the virus. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

Cllr Viv Kendrick, our cabinet member with responsibility for Public Health said:

There are many myths surrounding HIV and the most important facts to know are that although HIV is not curable it is now treatable. In addition to this, people who are tested and diagnosed early can live a normal life with today’s modern treatment.”

This year on World AIDS Day, the National AIDS Trust are asking people to show solidarity with the 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK – and the 34 million world-wide – by wearing the universal symbol of HIV awareness, the red ribbon, and putting it on landmarks, people, clothes, buildings, and food.

The facts

In our area the number of diagnoses of HIV is increasing and worryingly the numbers of people being diagnosed late with HIV is high. Recent Health Protection Agency figures show that 40% of cases are diagnosed late. People who are diagnosed early enough respond more quickly to treatment options.

The Brunswick Centre, which provides sexual health and HIV services in our area, has reported that as a result of late diagnoses they are seeing people with illnesses and infections which have not been seen since the centre was first established 20 years ago. Sadly, they have seen people die who would still be alive if they had been diagnosed early.

The availability and range of HIV treatments today means that it is vital to get tested early. The sooner a person knows they have HIV, the sooner they can make choices around treatment options. Moreover, people with diagnosed HIV are less likely to pass on the virus as current HIV treatments play a vital role in prevention as they reduce the amount of HIV in the person’s body reducing the likelihood of onward transmission.

Condoms remain the most effective barrier to preventing HIV when used correctly and are widely available to buy or pick up for free from services such as the Brunswick Centre. In addition anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to HIV can now benefit from the availability of PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis). Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a month-long course of HIV drugs that can reduce the risk of HIV transmission. The drugs are the same ones taken by people with HIV. PEP is available from the sexual health clinics or A&E and should be taken no later than 72 hours after exposure to HIV.

Need more info?

The Brunswick Centre has an information sheet on its website, which you can print off and takento A&E or the sexual health clinic. This explains what they need to do and allows you to discreetly pass it to the receptionist so you don’t have to state, in a busy setting, why you are there.

For further confidential information and advice regarding any of these issues please contact either your GP or one of the following sexual health services:-

The Brunswick Centre: 01484 469 691, or email info@thebrunswickcentre.org.uk.

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Your local Sexual Health Clinics

GUM Clinic at Princess Royal Health Centre, Huddersfield tel: 01484 344336
GUM Clinic at Dewsbury & District Hospital, Dewsbury tel: 0844 8118110
CASH Clinic at Dewsbury 01924 351550, Huddersfield 01484 344260

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