How sure are you about your HIV status?
Over the years there has been an increase in the number of Black BMEs settling in the county for various reasons;
- Economic difficulties
- Political discrimination
- Civil conflict
Statistics show that 80,000 or more people are living with HIV in the United Kingdom, Over 25% of people with HIV in the United Kingdom are undiagnosed or don’t know (HPA). Of these the prevalence of diagnosed HIV in black BMEs and black Caribbean communities in England is estimated to be 3.7% and 0.4% respectively.
In 2007 there were 2,691 new HIV diagnoses among black BMEs. The majority had acquired their infection heterosexually and in Africa. The percentage of late new diagnoses of HIV in 2007 (after a point when treatment should have begun) was highest among black BMEs the United Kingdom (42%).
At herts Aid, we can help change these statistics by providing you with access to appropriate information and services to equip you to;
Make informed sexual health decisions.
Fight Stigma within our society.
Influence change in the communities so that incidences of HIV within the BME communities is reduced.
Point of Care HIV Testing:
We have introduced an HIV community testing service. The HIV rapid test is a finger prick test that gives results within a minute. It is 99% accurate, never gives a false negative, but very occasionally gives a false positive. All those who test positive would be fast tracked through to GUM services for a confirmatory test, and follow up. Anyone who agreed to be tested would have a pre and post test discussion to establish risk for HIV, and talk through the reason to test and advantages of early diagnosis, as well as given an explanation of the advantages of managing HIV before health declines. All staff at herts Aid are fully trained to deliver the test.
We strongly encourage BME people to consider the benefits of HIV testing as part of good sexual health practice. We also promote the use of condoms and other safer sex practices that reduce the spread of HIV and build a safer sex culture within our communities.
Why is it better to know?
- It’s a good way of ensuring that you are in good health and rules out the guessing game.
- If you know your HIV status you are in better position to make informed decisions.
- If you are HIV negative, that gives you a platform to continue to practice safer sex and continue to protect yourself.
- If you are HIV positive, you can then be signposted to the appropriate support services. These days one is able to lead a normal live.
In conclusion ‘it is better to know’ if you are HIV positive or negative because it gives you a peace of mind knowing the facts. This can give you a chance to take more control over your life and plan your way forward.
Contact Herts Aid, in the strictest confidence, to arrange a test on 01920 484784.
- 1. National BME HIV Prevention Programme (WWW.nahip.org.uk)
- 2. Do it Right ( WWW.doitright.uk.com)
- 3. BME AIDS helpline (WWW.africansinengland.org.uk)
- 4. BME HIV Policy Network (WWW.ahph.org)
- 5. Black Gay Men’s Advisory Group. (WWW.bgmag.org.uk)
- 6. Naz project London (WWW.naz.org.uk)
- 7. Organisation of HIV Positive BME Men (OPAM)
- 8. Uganda AIDS Action FUND (WWW.uaaf.org.uk)
- 9. Ffena (WWW.ahpn.org)
- 10. BODY & SOUL (WWW.bodyandsoulcharity.org)