Gateshead Sexual Health Service: Supporting World Aids Day On December 1st
Gateshead Sexual Health and Gateshead Council have again this year collaborated in arranging for the Millennium Bridge to be lit red in support and remembrance of all the individuals across the world who have died from AIDS. The Red Ribbon & Colour is an internationally recognized symbol for AIDS awareness across the globe. Keep a look out if you’re on the Quayside on the 1st December as the bridge will be lit up red to highlight ‘World Aids Day. A fantastic way of showcasing Gateshead’s support for the global campaign.
Across the North East, there are around 1,800 people living with HIV, with one in six newly diagnosed cases seen in people over 50. Advances in treatment mean that people living with HIV/AIDS can now live a near-normal lifespan, however early diagnosis is absolutely key.
Certain groups, such as men who have sex with men, and Black African communities, are more at risk of getting HIV, but anyone can get it. South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging anyone at risk of HIV, including those who have had sex with a new or casual partner, gets tested because those diagnosed early can have a life expectancy matching that of people who are not HIV infected.
Dr Medhat Basta, Consultant in Sexual Health with the Trust, said: “There have been many scientific advances in treatment for HIV over the years and although it is a chronic medical condition, it is easily treated with antiretroviral treatment. This allows patients living with HIV to have an almost normal life in terms of quality and longevity.
“HIV should no longer be an untreated or a stigmatised condition and we want HIV testing to be seen as a normal part of taking care of your health and wellbeing especially if you have had unprotected sex with a new partner.
“While rates of late diagnosis are falling, too many people – particularly heterosexual men and women, patients who are older and people from Black African communities – are still diagnosed late. Earlier diagnosis will ensure better outcomes for the patient and reduce the transmission of infection to uninfected partners.
“We would always remind people that the best way to protect yourself from contracting any sexually transmitted disease, including HIV/AIDS is by practising safe sex and using condoms with all new and casual partners.”
For information about access to HIV testing and other sexual health services provided by South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, including contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections contact us at Gateshead Sexual Health on 0191 283 1577