National Testing Week
During National HIV Testing Week, 19th – 30th November 2016,Herts Aid as a local activation partner for HIV Prevention England launched an HIV testing campaign across Hertfordshire. We offered free confidential HIV testing at events in over 31 venues including GP surgeries, pharmacies – including branches of Boots in Stevenage and Watford, community venues, clinics, colleges, churches and the University of Hertfordshire over the course of the testing week. We also launched our home testing kit service via our website, giving the end user a choice to test themselves in the privacy of their own space. This has resulted in a marked increase in requests for tests, which has continued to date.
The aim of NTW was to raise awareness of HIV and increase testing, particularly among high-risk groups which include Black Minority Ethnic Groups and Men who have sex with men. 17% of people living with HIV are unaware they have it, and the majority of new infections are as a result of individuals unwittingly passing the virus on. At the moment, over half of those newly diagnosed in Hertfordshire are diagnosed late, when the virus is already affecting their immune system. However, people who are diagnosed with HIV promptly can now expect a near normal life span due to advances in treatments for the condition.
We achieved local media coverage of events taking place during the week on Twitter and Facebook, articles online and in newspapers including the Welwyn and Hatfield times and through radio interviews with BOB fm.
In total we carried out just over 170 HIV tests and distributed over 800 Condoms during National Testing Week, which was well received across the country.