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'We're beating HIV with testing and early diagnoses' say Tower Hamlets GPs

PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 November 2019

Testing is quick and easy at the GP surgery, doctors and health campaigners point out. Picture: LBTH

Testing is quick and easy at the GP surgery, doctors and health campaigners point out. Picture: LBTH

LBTH

GPs are leading a public health campaign urging people to get tested and "give HIV the finger".

Positive East centre at 159 Mile End Road promoting HIV testing. Picture: GooglePositive East centre at 159 Mile End Road promoting HIV testing. Picture: Google

They are working with charities like Positive East in Mile End to push Tower Hamlets Council's annual campaign this week promoting free and confidential tests.

The campaign is led by Dr Kamilla Kamaruddin from East One surgery in Spitalfields, who recently won a Royal College of GPs award for her work on equality for the gay community.

"HIV doesn't always have symptoms," Dr Kamaruddin warns. "Getting tested regularly is important, at least once a year or more frequently when changing sexual partners."

Tests are "quick and easy" with a simple prick of the finger to take a blood sample, she points out. They can be done at walk-in clinics or at home with sampling kits, as well as at GP surgeries.

The Positive East charity gives free, confidential testing with weekly sessions at its centre at 159 Mile End Road, near Stepney Green station. It has been running extra sessions as part of the HiV testing week campaign. Its next session is this Saturday, November 23.

Tower Hamlets now has the lowest late diagnosis rate in the country with the number of new cases falling by half in the last four years.

Effective early treatment can mean someone with HIV becomes "undetectable and untransmittable" so the virus cannot be passed on.

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