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Reducing stigma and increasing access to HIV services and treatment

30 November 2023

Friday 1 December marks World AIDS Day. Along with our sexual health service providers, we are calling for a reduction in rates of undiagnosed and late diagnosed HIV infections by making sure everyone has access to essential services and treatment.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people all over the world to come together to celebrate the achievements that have been made in the fight against HIV/AIDs, to stand in solidarity with those living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related Illness.

London is part of an international initiative called Fast Track Cities, which aims to end new cases of HIV by 2030.

They also want to:

  • End HIV-related stigma and discrimination
  • Stop preventable deaths from HIV-related causes
  • Improve the health, quality of life and wellbeing of people living with HIV

The borough has lower rates of newly diagnosed cases of HIV and late-stage HIV diagnoses than both the London and national averages, and these are continuing to decrease. However, these issues are still prevalent locally, and disproportionately affecting Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities in more deprived areas. Stigma around HIV and sexual health continues to be a significant barrier to testing, seeking support or starting treatment. 

We want to help raise awareness of and normalise conversations around HIV/AIDS and the quick, simple tests that can help detect new cases early. 

By being diagnosed early and accessing effective treatment quickly, people can reduce their viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood), which significantly reduces the risk of transmission and transforms HIV from a fatal infection to a manageable condition.

Those who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load by taking daily antiretroviral medication cannot pass on the infection through sex. Testing can be easily carried out with just a quick finger-prick test.

We are partnered with the below organisations who offer testing and other support services locally:

  • Spectra offers face-to-face HIV testing at its outreach sessions and in the Spectra office, and guided testing from your own home.
  • METRO Charity offers free HIV services for people living with HIV, including advice and advocacy.
  • Sexual Health South West London has a list of sexual health clinics offering sexual health testing.

You can also order a free self-test kit to do at home via the National HIV Testing Service.

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Up to: November 2023

Updated: 30 November 2023

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