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Musgrove nurses to offer free testing to raise awareness for National HIV testing week 2014 - 21 November 2014

Musgrove nurses to offer free testing to raise awareness for National HIV testing week 2014 - 21 November 2014

Nurses from Taunton’s Musgrove Park hospital will be out in the community during National HIV testing week offering free and confidential HIV tests.

The number of people living with HIV in the UK continues to rise, with an estimated 27% with the infection thought to be unaware.

Throughout 24 – 28 November nurses from Musgrove Park Hospital will be visiting Somerset GP surgeries to offer people in the community free and confidential Point of Care HIV tests.

The test involves a small finger prick test which will provide a result within 20 minutes. Staff working at the participating surgeries will not have any access to the details of people testing or their results, which ensures complete confidentiality.

Additional to the HIV test, you can also ask to have a blood test for Hepatitis B and C and Syphilis, with the results of these being privately texted to your mobile phone within a few days. The nurses will also be giving away chlamydia and gonorrhoea self-tests which you can take away and do within the privacy of your own home, the results can again be texted to you within a few days.

HIV Clinical Nurse Specialist Jane Holder from Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “The main objective of this national initiative is to increase the number of people being tested for HIV, therefore we would like to encourage people who have never been tested before to come forward.

“A large proportion of people diagnosed with HIV in Somerset are diagnosed late, in some cases they are already unwell. Serious illness can be prevented by diagnosing people earlier. HIV transmission can also be reduced by testing and treating people earlier.

“Most people will test negative and can have peace of mind and reassurance that they are not putting others at risk of infection, however if anyone does test positive they will be entitled to access full medical care, as well as counselling options and support in the GU clinic at Musgrove.”

In the UK, late diagnosis of HIV is the most important factor influencing HIV-related morbidity and mortality, but it can be stopped.

Please see below for a list of participating GP surgeries, where you can access this free and confidential test.

Monday 24th November: Williton Surgery Robert St, Williton, Taunton TA4 4QE 1-6.30pm.

Tuesday 25th November: Crown Medical Practice Venture Way, Taunton TA2 8QY 8.30-11.30am ,  Axbridge Surgery Houlgate Way, Axbridge BS26 2BJ 12.30-6pm.

Wednesday 26th November: Tawstock Surgery 7 High St, Chard TA20 1QF 1-5pm.

Thursday 27th November: Glastonbury Surgery Feversham Lane, Glastonbury BA6 9LP 8.30-11.30am , Vine Surgery Hindhayes Lane, Street BA16 0ET 1-6.30pm.

Friday 28th November: Cannington Surgery Mill Lane, Cannington, TA5 2HB 12.30-6pm.

Tel 01823 344888 if you need further information about these events.

For more information about HIV, including a simple test to see if you have put yourself at risk, visit www.hivaware.org.uk. Dr Christian Jesson of the BAFTA award winning ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ contributes to this site.