Free HIV screening test for Newham residents

Newham residents should visit a health centre to get tested for HIV (picture: Anthony Devlin/PA)

Newham residents have access to free HIV testing  - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

People in Newham are being urged to access free HIV screening tests.

Positive East, a large community-based HIV charity, is making testing for HIV accessible by offering testing in a range of settings across the borough.

This includes twice weekly testing at Vicarage Lane Health Centre and monthly clinics at libraries across the borough.

Positive East have been promoting free HIV screening tests to residents but it’s not too late as they offer free testing all year round.

"With just a finger-prick of blood, it’s never been easier to get tested for HIV," a spokesperson said.

They said Black African communities and gay, bi and other men who have sex with men, continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV, alongside emerging diagnoses in South Asian communities.

It’s estimated that around 5,310 people in the UK are unaware that they’re living with HIV.

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Residents are also invited to a Positive about HIV Prevention training session on February 24 from 12pm to 12:45pm.

The ‘lunch and learn’ session will hear about the availability of treatment, the different ways to take it, and the tests required before and during treatment.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: “Thanks to developments in treatment, HIV is now a long-term manageable health condition.

"There is no reason to fear taking an HIV test and there is nothing shameful about it. In fact, it’s a routine part of any new patient check in a GP practice and, by getting tested, we can all help to tackle HIV transmission and late diagnosis in our borough.”

Dr Subathira Dakshina, clinical lead for HIV Medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust, added: “I would urge any resident that has the chance to get screened for HIV to grasp that opportunity with both hands.

"It’s free and you’ll be doing a positive thing for yourself and your community. And remember – the majority of people living with HIV on effective treatment can live a long and heathy life without the fear of passing on HIV.”

People can order a free HIV & STI test from shl.uk to be delivered to their home address.

Positive East can guide people needing more support for taking and reading the test through Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Email prevention@positiveeast.org.uk for more information.

To register for the HIV training session go to https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/