Celebrities back virus testing campaign in east London

Emergency patients having blood tests this week will be asked if they want to be checked for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C as part of a week-long national campaign.

Celebrities backing the campaign, called Going Viral, include actor Richard Wilson and DJ and presenter Tim Westwood who will visit The Royal London Hospital during the week.

Elton John, Sadie Frost, group The Horrors and singer songwriter, HIV activist and The Mayor of London’s HIV Ambassador Annie Lennox will all tweet their support and actor Tom Wilkinson has also put his name to the campaign.

In a first for the NHS, from October 13 to October 20, everyone having a blood test at ten hospitals across the UK will also be offered a blood test for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. One quick blood sample will be tested for all three viruses.

London is leading the call to action, with seven hospitals in the capital supporting the campaign, being spearheaded by Barts Health NHS Trust which is testing in all three of its emergency departments (at Newham, The Royal London and Whipps Cross hospitals). Anyone testing positive will be informed by the hospital within two weeks and referred to a specialist clinic for care.

The campaign aims to prove that routine screening of people in areas most at risk will save lives and reduce transmission to others.