Nottingham’s Integrated Sexual Health Service – part of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust – is launching a campaign on World Health Day to raise awareness of HIV Fast Testing.
The campaign which is supported by Nottingham Hospitals Charity will be advertised on buses across Nottingham City and will promote the test which is done at home.
It is hoped that with regular home testing of HIV, and the result being available quickly, it can ease the fear around HIV testing that some people may have, build confidence in the testing process and embed safer sexual practices.
People can order the test to their home if they are 16 years or older online here: https://freetesting.hiv
If the result of the test is positive or negative, there is extensive sexual health support service available for people taking these tests. These include: Referrals into specialist services, expert assistance with further testing, one-to-one counselling, peer support groups, specialist dieticians, HIV pharmacists, access to free HIV medication and regular review by a HIV physician.
Judith Green, Outreach and Health Promotion Team Manager, at Nottingham’s Integrated Sexual Health Service, said: “The most important thing is regular HIV testing, and using condoms if you can, particularly where you don’t know your partners’ status.
“According to Public Health England (2017), 45% of those accessing HIV treatment are Black African/Caribbean, Asian and other Ethnic Minority groups, and 55% are White. A home finger-prick test gives you the results and that all important peace of mind.”
Over the last few years, there has been an expansion in Integrated Sexual Health Services. Both City and County residents are able to access clinics at the Central Hubs (Victoria Health Centre and Nottingham City Hospital) and at peripheral spoke clinics – that have the added convenience of being closer to their home address.
Dr Ruth Taylor, Consultant HIV Physician and Head of Nottingham Integrated Sexual Services said: “The sooner we know someone has HIV, the earlier we can start treatment. Late diagnosis can mean poorer long-term health outcomes, but effective treatment means people living with HIV can have normal, healthy lives.
“Anyone can get HIV, but we know some people are more at risk, whether born in the UK or overseas.”
Other services available include:
- Post Exposure Prophylaxis after Sexual Exposure (PEPSE) – A medication taken within 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse. Your risk of getting HIV from that episode of sex is assessed and you may be offered a course of tablets that will hopefully prevent you getting HIV.
- Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – is a medication given to someone who doesn’t have HIV that is taken every day or around the time of sex to prevent you getting HIV from any unprotected sex. It’s pre-planned and taken before any sex, unlike PEPSE, which is taken after unprotected sex.
Patients can self-refer to our counselling service or be referred by externally.
If you would like to refer yourself, please call and ask to be referred to the Specialist Sexual Health Counsellor on 07812 275246 or email SHS.Counselling@nuh.nhs.uk
Please note – we can currently only accept referrals from residents living in Nottingham City and the Southern Borough’s (Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe).