Coventry City Council’s Public Health Team, Travel Klinix and the Highlife Centre are launching a campaign, ‘I know my HIV status. Do you?’ across Coventry.
The campaign aims to encourage people to get involved in reducing the level of HIV in the city by getting tested for the virus.
Public health experts are reminding people about the importance of getting tested for HIV if they think they may have been at risk of contracting the virus.
HIV is transmitted mainly through unprotected sex, as well as other routes, such as sharing needles or health procedures in countries with poor hygiene.
Coventry currently has the highest number of people diagnosed with HIV per population than any other city or area in the West Midlands. Getting people tested and treated if necessary reduces the risk of passing on the virus, and is key to reducing the level of HIV in Coventry.
Magic Johnson, the famous basketball player, has been living with HIV for 25 years. Treatment is free and can be as little as one pill per day if a person is diagnosed early.
A range of local pharmacies, GPs, community organisations and our Integrated Sexual Health Service have been working hard to increase HIV testing opportunities. This is showing significant progress, with over 1,000 rapid HIV tests undertaken in the community in 2017.
For example, nine pharmacies in Coventry currently provide free, confidential HIV tests and an indicative result can be obtained within 60 seconds. Support is given by the pharmacist for you to access the treatment service, should this be necessary.
People who would like an free HIV test at one of the pharmacies can ask for a private talk with the pharmacist. For details visit www.besavvy.org.uk
Every step of HIV testing is confidential. Support is provided throughout the process and apart from the person taking the test, nobody will know the result.
Jane Craig, Coventry City Council Public Health, said: “We want to encourage the people of Coventry to talk about HIV and take positive steps to reduce the level of HIV in Coventry by getting tested.
“To support the campaign take a selfie or group shot with the phrase ‘I know my HIV status. Do you?’ with the hashtag #CovTalksHIV and post to as many people as possible. Why not get tested before the selfie is taken?".
Councillor Kamran Caan, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport, said: “This is a brilliant campaign that should be supported by everybody. Getting tested for HIV is vital and we should encourage those around us to get tested too.
“Together we need to push out the message that all testing will be done in complete confidentiality and the importance of being diagnosed early.
“I look forward to seeing this campaign progress and to help get HIV diagnosed earlier in Coventry".
See if you're eligible for a free self-sampling HIV test at: www.test.hiv/