This year, NHS City and Hackney is using World AIDS Day (1 December) to promote early HIV diagnosis and easier access to testing for vulnerable groups. The number of people diagnosed and living with HIV in Hackney and the City has increased by 43 per cent since 2003. Members of African communities are particularly at risk.
A community event run by the Hackney African Forum on Saturday 5 December (2-6pm) at the Alevi Cultural Centre on Ridley Road – with personal testimonies in line with this year’s ‘HIV: Reality’ theme.
The event will promote the recently launched African Community Clinics which offer health advice and rapid HIV testing in community settings. The African community clinics are at St John at Hackney (Saturday 12-3pm) and Geffrye Community College (Wednesday 3-6pm)
The SHO-me Goes Purple bus for young people was parked in its usual Tuesday spot outside BSix College today (12-3pm).
This is a joint service between Hackney Youth Service and CHYPS Plus delivering outreach sexual health services to young people. Volunteers from the Hackney African Forum will be on board to promote World AIDS day and HIV/AIDS prevention.
Jayne Taylor, Sexual Health Strategist and Teenage Pregnancy Co-ordinator for NHS City and Hackney, said: “The opening of our African community clinics is a great step forward.
“It is helping us reach communities who may not otherwise come forward for testing, but who are at particularly high risk, by providing rapid testing at locations that are convenient to them.”
NHS City and Hackney has the second highest caseload of HIV positive patients in north east London.
In 2007, 1,200 people in City & Hackney were HIV positive and accessing care – an increase of 43 per cent from 2003 and 7 per cent from 2006. High risk groups are men who have sex with men, and men and women of African origin.
HIV can be treated effectively with Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), but one quarter of people with HIV do not know they have the condition because they haven’t been tested; and almost one third of cases are diagnosed late (i.e. at a point after which therapy should have begun). Late diagnosis is associated with poorer response to ART and increased mortality and morbidity.
It is easy to get tested in Hackney – point of care testing means you can get your results within one minute, and you can get tested at a variety of different locations, including:
Department of Sexual Health at Homerton Hospital
Community sexual health services at
The Ivy (St Leonards),
John Scott Health Centre
Lower Clapton Health Centre
Most GP surgeries
Community testing clinics at St John at Hackney (Saturday 12-3pm) and Geffrye Community College (Wednesday 3-6pm) – as well as point of care HIV testing, these clinics also offer cardiovascular health checks.
All of these services offer free confidential advice about safer sex and HIV/AIDS to people of all ages.
See Sho-Me for more details of testing locations and clinic opening hours.
The African Community testing clinics are run in partnership with Positive East, It’s Better to Know.
Early diagnosis of HIV can improve life expectancy and considerably reduce the chances of others being infected.
More than a quarter of people living with HIV in the UK are unaware of their diagnosis, and nearly a third of new cases of HIV are diagnosed late.
With appropriate treatment, a person living with HIV can look forward to many decades of ‘disease-free’ life. Late diagnosis can lead to increased transmission of HIV and nearly a quarter of all HIV related deaths are attributable to late diagnosis.