Croydon’s annual HIV Testing Week campaign has been a resounding success with almost 1,200 additional people being tested for HIV during this time – beating last year’s total.
More than 100 trained volunteers, including Croydon College students, Rainbow Across Borders – a local LGBT group, and Croydon Council staff, signposted people to get tested at nearby community venues.
This included being tested at Croydon University Hospital, local pharmacies, the CVA Resource Centre, the health hub in central library and Prestige hair and beauty salon. The full list of participating venues is available here.
Croydon Council organises the annual HIV Testing Week campaign for the borough, which started on 17 November this year and lasts until World Aids Day on the 1 December.
A key message during the campaign was that anyone could get tested at any time of the year. HIV testing is available at the sexual health clinic at Croydon University Hospital, GP surgeries, or with test kits that can be delivered by post.
It is important for people to be sure of their HIV status. Anyone who does receive a reactive or positive HIV result can immediately receive treatment and be offered support and counselling. The treatment now available for HIV is very effective and not only restores people to good health but also helps reduce the onward transmission of the virus.
As one in every eight people who are HIV positive in the UK do not know that they have the virus, they are not accessing the support available, or the treatment to protect their health – and prevent HIV being passed on to someone else.
“It is great that so many people were able to get a test in Croydon during our HIV Testing Week campaign. We could not have achieved this without our dedicated volunteers and the commitment of the Croydon pharmacies and business who opened up their premises to the community. Getting a HIV test is a simple process – it only requires a finger-prick test and you will receive your result within 15 minutes. Due to our efforts, it is likely that more people will make regular HIV testing part of their sexual health priorities.”
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care
Christiana Amoako, a Croydon College student who volunteered during the campaign, said: “HIV Testing Week is an important and necessary initiative as it helps people to live healthier lives. I have learnt so much from this volunteering experience, like improving my confidence and communicating with a diverse range of people. It felt good to support the council’s work and to give back to my community by using my time in this way.”