Published: Thursday, 1st February 2024
From 5 to 11 February, we will be working with METRO Charity in helping residents get tested for HIV as we mark the tenth anniversary of national HIV Testing Week.
METRO promote health and wellbeing services to anyone experiencing issues relating to sexuality, gender, equality, diversity and identity in Royal Greenwich and beyond.
Testing is free, confidential and the only way to know your HIV status. The earlier HIV is detected, the earlier you can start treatment – helping you live your best, healthiest life.
Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Adults’ Social Care said: “New HIV transmissions could be eliminated by 2025 but we can only do that if everyone tests for HIV, even if you think this doesn’t apply to you.
“Anyone, regardless of age, gender or sexuality could catch HIV. It is extremely treatable, but only if you know about it!
“Get tested, take control of your health and do your part in eliminating HIV transmissions.”
METRO Charity will once again be heading to General Gordon Square to offer a fast, free, confidential HIV finger prick testing service. The testing bus will be available on Wednesday 7 February and Friday 9 February from 11am to 4.30pm.
Anders Neilson, METRO said: “It's national HIV testing week and we're sharing this important message: If you know your status, you can help end HIV!
“Testing is easy, free and confidential. You can get an HIV test from a sexual health clinic, a sexual health charity or by ordering one online and taking the test at home.
“You can live a long time without any HIV symptoms, so regular testing is important. If you have HIV, finding out early means you can start free treatment early & live a long healthy life and avoid passing the virus on to others.
“A person who has HIV and is on medication can achieve a status known as ‘undetectable’. This means that the virus cannot be passed on through sexual contact, which is why knowing your status, whatever that may be, is so important.”
If you live in Royal Greenwich, you are also eligible for a free at-home sexual health testing kit. All you need to do is order a free kit online, complete the quick and easy testing process at home and send it off to receive results in a few days.
Treatment for HIV has improved significantly and people living with HIV and who are taking treatment can live long, healthy lives, but early diagnosis is critical to the best health outcomes.
Latest estimates suggests there were 95,900 people living with HIV in England in 2021. Of these, around 4,400 are undiagnosed and do not know they are HIV positive.
METRO charity operates a dedicated walk-in clinic for gay and bisexual men, Trans people and lesbian women, who don't have symptoms and would like to test for a range of STI's. This is a face-to-face, testing service is available every Wednesday from 5 to 7pm at METRO, 1st Floor Equitable House, 7 General, Gordon Square, London SE18 6FH.
Gay and bisexual men can also access testing and condoms through METROs PitstopPLUS.org service.
For details on Greenwich Sexual Health or METRO’s Pitstop clinic services, please call 020 8305 5005 or visit greenwichsexualhealth.org and PisttopPLUS.org. You can also search for @METROCharity on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.