Trust raising awareness of early diagnosis

Dr Helen McIlveen.

Dr Helen McIlveen.

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Community health experts are raising the importance of early diagnosis of HIV.

As part of national HIV testing week – taking place this week – Dr Helen McIlveen, clinical lead for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s sexual health services and HIV, says early diagnosis and treatment improves health outcomes and reduces the risk of onward transmission.

Dr McIlveen said: “Starting anti-retroviral therapy (ART) significantly reduces the risk of onward transmission and improves health outcomes, so we are encouraging people to think about whether they may have been at risk and come for an HIV test.

“Our sexual health clinics in Northumberland and North Tyneside offer a range of free and confidential services including HIV testing.

“The infection has a prolonged ‘silent’ period during which it often remains undiagnosed.

“Increasing uptake of HIV testing is critical to reduce late HIV diagnoses and the number of people who remain undiagnosed, and therefore controlling the spread of HIV.”

Services in North Tyneside are provided from the One to One Centre, Brenkley Avenue, Shiremoor.

For more information contact (0191) 297 0441.

Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) has resulted in substantial reductions in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and deaths in the UK.

Promoting HIV screening and testing can reduce the number of people with a late HIV diagnosis.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust provides a free and confidential HIV testing service at clinics in North Tyneside and Northumberland.

Care of people with HIV is provided locally with four consultants specialising in HIV. There is also an HIV specialist nurse who can give one to one support to patients and provide education for professionals.