Buses drive HIV message home
To mark World AIDS Day on 1 December, South Gloucestershire Council and NHS South Gloucestershire have launched a joint campaign with HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) focussing on HIV prevention and education.
From 23 November, all buses running from Muller Road depot into South Gloucestershire will carry internal posters highlighting the need for people who think they may have put themselves at risk of HIV to take a free, confidential HIV test.
Councillor Matthew Riddle, executive member for community care and housing, said: “At a time when the HIV figures continue to rise, it is important that we get the message across that if someone puts themselves at risk it is essential that they get themselves tested, both for their own sake and for the safety of others. South Gloucestershire Council is proud of its commitment to HIV prevention, and also of our partnership with front-line organisations like Terrence Higgins Trust and the Brigstowe Project from whom we commission services for people living with HIV.”
Themed around a digital clock showing the time 01:12:09 the posters carry the message: “Every hour people in our world are DYING from AIDS. Every minute people in South Gloucestershire are LIVING with HIV. Every second people are putting themselves and others at risk of HIV,” and ends with the thought: “1 December is World AIDS Day… Every day is World HIV Day.”
In addition to the bus campaign, HIV testing will be introduced at a new clinic in South Gloucestershire as part of a pilot project.
From 2 December South Gloucestershire Council and NHS South Gloucestershire are funding THT to run a drop-in clinic at the Park Centre in Kingswood. As part of a six-month feasibility study to determine the need for such services in the district, the clinic will provide HIV and chlamydia testing as well as information on sexual health in general. The sessions will take place on Wednesday evenings from 2 December between 4:30 and 6:30pm.
Steve Jones, regional manager for THT in the South West, said: “It is estimated that one-third of people living with HIV in the UK are unaware that they have the infection and therefore are not receiving the best treatment and care available to them.
“The sooner somebody knows that they have been infected with HIV the better and this innovative partnership project between South Gloucestershire Council, NHS South Gloucestershire and the Terrence Higgins Trust demonstrates how important it is to educate everyone about the dangers of HIV infection.
“Hopefully this bus campaign and the new pilot HIV testing service opening in Kingswood will raise awareness of HIV amongst South Gloucestershire residents and encourage them to come forward and take a test.”
Source: South Gloucestershire Council
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