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Mass public HIV testing campaign launched by Tower Hamlets Council for World Aids Day

PUBLISHED: 16:14 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:35 22 November 2018

Mayor John Biggs gets HIV test as part of Tower Hamlets campaign for public awareness for World Aids Day. Picture: LBTH

Mayor John Biggs gets HIV test as part of Tower Hamlets campaign for public awareness for World Aids Day. Picture: LBTH

LBTH

The mayor of Tower Hamlets has voluntarily had a blood test for HIV as part of a council campaign for public awareness for people to take part in Testing Week starting tomorrow.

Poitive East charity members present mayor with World Aids flag for the town hall. Picture: LBTHPoitive East charity members present mayor with World Aids flag for the town hall. Picture: LBTH

The campaign highlights free and confidential tests with oral swabs or blood samples, like the one Mayor John Biggs had, and where to go for them.

“The key is getting tested early,” he said. “We’ve already made progress getting more people tested.”

He got blood-tested himself at the Positive East HIV charity in Mile End when they presented him with a ‘red ribbon’ flag for the town hall to mark the 30th anniversary of World Aids Day on December 1.

The charity is organising a World AIDS Day ‘red run’ in Victoria for volunteers to take part in a 5k or 10k run who can register for £18 by November 27 and select one of 36 HIV charities to support.

Posirtive East Aids charity centre in Mile End Road, housed in the former Mile End Baths. Picture: GooglePosirtive East Aids charity centre in Mile End Road, housed in the former Mile End Baths. Picture: Google

It is organising a World Aids Day ‘red run’ in Victoria for volunteers to take part in a 5k or 10k run who can register for £18 by November 27 and select one of 36 HIV charities to support.

Positive East operates a testing service on Saturdays at 159 Mile End Road, 11am to 3pm, and Wednesdays 5.30pm-8.30pm.

The council’s campaign also aims to encourage gay and bisexual men and black communities to test every year because these groups make up seven-out-of-10 of those with HIV, it says.

Cllr Denise Jones, cabinet member for health, warned: “HIV doesn’t always have symptoms. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.”

The virus is most commonly passed on by unprotected sex, but also transferred by sharing infected needles or by an HIV-positive mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.

One-in-eight people with HIV doesn’t know they have it, the council points out. But early diagnosis leads to a normal life expectancy, while late diagnosis can lead to 10 times the risk of death within 12 months.

Positive East is running extra clinics and information stalls during National HIV Testing Week, from tomorrow as listed:

Saturday, November 17:

11am-3pm at Positive East, 159 Mile End Road, E1 4AQ

Tuesday, November 20:

1-5pm at Riverside Women’s Hostel, 20 Garford Street, off West India Dock Road, Limehouse, E14 8JG

Wednesday, November 21:

5.30-8.30pm at Positive East, 159 Mile End Road, E1 4AQ

Saturday, November 24:

11am-3pm at Positive East, 159 Mile End Road, E1 4AQ

11am-2pm Barkantine GP centre, 121 Westferry Road, Millwall, Isle of Dogs, E14 8JH

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