Sexual health clinics in the Eastlondon lines boroughs all reported have seen an increase in visitors during HIV testing week and some were forced to turn patients away.
It was the 5th year of National HIV testing week which is primarily promoted to target homosexual and bisexual men as well as Afro-Carribean men and women. According to HIV Prevention England, the campaign has been effective. A survey revealed that 14 per cent of MSM had never had an HIV test before. While 23 per cent of Black African respondents had never had the test either.
Around 12 per cent of each target group did not know where to get a test. The Terrence Higgins Fund, who were responsible for the campaign, have been sending free HIV test kits to those who are not aware of any nearby clinics.
More than 6000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK by the end of 2015. Of these, men numbered three quarters of those who tested positive. Although the campaign is aimed at Homosexuals and Afro-caribbean men and women, the study shows that a majority of 60.2 % of people who tested positive are white.
In Lewisham, the Waldron Health Centre in New Cross had many patients waiting to be tested at various points throughout the week after repeatedly exceeding their intake of patients.
Croydon Sexual Health Clinic promotes HIV testing during HIV testing week and in a lead up to World’s Aids day.The employees at the clinic go out and speak to young people about the consequences of the illness and general STI’s.
The Tower Hamlets Contraception and Sexual Health centre, believe that HIV testing week has greatly encouraged Londoners to get tested.
A spokesperson from The Terrence Higgins Fund told Eastlondonlines: “The aim is to prevent HIV from spreading and to help those who have contracted HIV to get the help that they need.”