Turning Point Medical Director, Dr David Bremner, shares the new Turning Point HIV Strategy and the organisation’s work during HIV Testing Week.
This week is national HIV Testing Week. Across the country, Turning Point services are working with partner organisations to run HIV testing events and calling on people to get tested and know their status.
This week we are also launching the Turning Point HIV strategy, the aim of which is to ensure everyone that Turning Point supports in our drug and alcohol and sexual health services can easily access testing, treatment and ongoing support for HIV.
We have made great progress in tackling HIV in the UK; however, there is more to do and drug and alcohol treatment providers have a key role to play if we are to meet the government target to end new HIV transmissions by 2030. HIV prevalence amongst people who inject drugs in the UK is low but estimates suggest the risk of contracting HIV for this group is 22 times greater than for the population as a whole. People who inject drugs can be marginalised, they can face barriers to accessing services and are more likely to be diagnosed late.
Testing is quick and easy. Most tests come back negative, but it’s always better to know. If you test positive, it’s important to know you can live a long and fulfilling life with HIV. There’s support available to help you comes to terms with a positive diagnosis and modern HIV treatment means you can’t pass it on to others.
We consulted with people living with HIV, staff and partner organisations in developing the strategy which is guided by three underlying principles:
• Challenging stigma surrounding HIV within services and beyond. This will be achieved through the provision of robust staff education and training, and by providing clear information regarding HIV for people supported by our services.
• Ensuring key messages relating to HIV testing and treatment are clearly communicated. It is important that we achieve wider understanding regarding the fact that when HIV is diagnosed and properly treated it is undetectable and untransmissible.
• Ensuring all of our services are a safe space in which people we support who are living with HIV can access support and discuss their diagnosis and treatment.
We have lots of examples of good practice within services and over the coming period we will be focussed on sharing the learning from these – improving training for staff, the quality of information, advice and support we provide and our work with partner organisations. We are part of the generation that will stop HIV.
Read the full blog post here.
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