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HIV: Let’s sort this together
Posted: Monday 17th February 2020 at 12:00
Categories: Tameside News

The PaSH Partnership (BHA for Equality, George House Trust and LGBT Foundation) has launched a new campaign across Greater Manchester as the city region steps up efforts to end all new transmissions of HIV.

The campaign features images and real-life stories from a broad range of Greater Manchester residents with a simple message: ‘HIV: Let’s sort this together’.

It aims to inspire everyone to take steps to help end HIV transmission rates, which are currently higher in the city region than the national average.

The campaign, which focuses on a ‘Test, Manage, Prevent’ message, encourages people to take regular HIV tests, and manage the possible risks of HIV transmission during sex. For people living with HIV, the campaign highlights the fact that effective treatment means that HIV cannot be passed on through sex, a fact now universally recognised as ‘U=U’ (Undetectable = Untransmittable).

The website www.SortHIV.org.uk is being launched, giving details about the different ways to test for HIV – including home testing and testing in local community spaces. It provides advice on access to condoms, PrEP, and PEP which are medications that help to prevent HIV transmission.

Jim Kemp, who is part of the campaign, said: “As a man living with HIV, I feel that it is important that we start a conversation about HIV and prevention. Talking about it openly is the only way that we can break the stigma that surrounds the topic. This campaign is really a step forward in terms of promoting HIV testing, prevention and management and it is a campaign that I am really excited to be involved with.”

Stockport resident Jason, who also features in the campaign, said: “I wanted to get involved because the campaign connects my personal and professional lives. The advancements in HIV prevention, testing, and treatment relate to me as a single gay man and in my work providing HIV testing for LGBT communities. I am of a generation that has witnessed so many developments and wanted to be part of the next stage working to combat prejudice and stigma.”

It is estimated that there are more than 5,900 people across Greater Manchester who are living with HIV – a percentage of the regional population which is higher than the national average and which, in some boroughs, is more than double the national rate. In addition, an estimated 745 people in Greater Manchester are unaware that they are living with HIV.

In 2018, there were over 250 diagnoses of HIV in the city region. Almost half (42.7%) of these are late diagnoses, meaning that treatment is potentially costlier and less likely to be effective.

The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership has invested £1.3 million in an ambitious programme of action and support, developed and delivered in collaboration with local organisations and communities.