Leading sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust has launched a brand new HIV Prevention and support service today in Luton to support people living with HIV and at risk of HIV or poor sexual health.
The brand new service will empower local people to look after their sexual health, support people living with HIV and encourage more people to regularly test locally for the HIV virus. This new service will work with agencies to reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by many people living with HIV.
Located at 3 Park Terrace, Manor Road, Luton, local people will be able to find out their HIV status in just 20 minutes using the charity’s rapid testing service.
Luton has a higher rate of late diagnosis for HIV. Latest figures show 55% of people newly diagnosed with HIV in the area were diagnosed late, meaning the virus has already started to damage their immune system and they may have unwittingly passed it on to others.
The vital new service, which is funded through the Public Health team at Luton Borough Council, will help address this high late diagnosis rate, by increasing testing and support people living with HIV, by offering one to one support and group sessions.
THT regional manager Darcy Weaver said: “Testing and diagnosing people with HIV is vital, as we know that one in seven people with the virus still don’t know they have it.
“If you do test positive, effective HIV treatment means you can live a long and healthy life and will not pass on HIV to anyone else.
“Our brand new service launched today will encourage more people to test and know their status, and will support people living with HIV across the town.”