Sexual health clinic will offer free HIV tests as part of awareness week

The Centre in Barnstaple is ‘giving HIV the finger’ by offering free HIV tests.

The Centre, which is part of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, is taking part in National HIV Testing Week, which begins on Saturday and runs until November 25.

The theme for the week is ‘Give HIV the finger’, which promotes the quick and easy finger-prick HIV test.

The Vicarage Street centre will be offering free, confidential, finger-prick tests from Monday to Friday.

Nurse adviser Abbey Eboigbe.Nurse adviser Abbey Eboigbe.

Nurse adviser Abbey Eboigbe said: “National HIV Testing Week gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of testing for HIV, and how quick and easy it can be.

“To do a finger-prick test, all you need to do is come along to our clinics, fill out a self-assessment form and one of the clinic staff will see you to do your test. Your results will be available in one minute.”

“With current treatments, HIV is now considered a long-term manageable condition, much like diabetes.

“By getting tested and starting treatment if necessary, you are unlikely to become ill due to this infection and if the virus is undetectable for at least six months, you will no longer be able to pass it on to a sexual partner.”

There are approximately 100,000 people in the UK living with HIV, and of these people, 1 in 8 do not know they have HIV.

Those who are undiagnosed spend on average three to five years unaware they have the virus.