Merton Council is calling on residents to visit their local clinic and get tested during National HIV Testing Week, 22-30 November, in the run up to World AIDS day on 1 December.
Over half of HIV transmissions are due to people being unaware they have the infection. The earlier people are diagnosed and have access to effective treatment, the better chance they have of improving their health. The risk of infecting others is also much lower.
Throughout National HIV Testing Week local clinics will be promoting free and confidential testing and providing information and advice to visitors.
HIV testing is available at:
- St George’s Hospital, 020 8725 3353
- Epsom and St Helier Hospital, 020 8296 2543
Contraception and Sexual Health Clinics
- Patrick Doody Clinic, Wimbledon, 020 3458 5115
- Wide Way Clinic, Mitcham, 020 3458 5200
Merton’s cabinet member for adult social care and health, Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah, said “Late diagnosis is one of the biggest contributing factors to morbidity and mortality of people with HIV. There are also significant implications for health and social care services, which is why we are encouraging people to get themselves tested.”
Merton’s director of public health, Dr Kay Eilbert, said: “An estimated one in four people in the UK living with HIV are unaware of their infection. We would urge local residents, especially those most at risk, to think about going to one of these local services to get tested. The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the more likely it can be managed and people can lead a long and healthy life.”
Notes to editors
More information about sexual health services including HIV testing: www.swish.nhs.uk
In Merton, between 2011 and 2013, 39% of HIV diagnoses were made at a late stage of infection compared to 45% in England.