Remove HIV stigma to improve future health with rapid testing at drop-in clinics

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The Terence Higgins Trust is working to reduce the stigma of HIV and help improve patients’ outcomes with early diagnosis in the Bedford area.

The charity is hoping to encourage people from the African community and MSM (men who have sex with men) to come forward for free and confidential advice and information.

It can even offer a free 30-second rapid HIV test along with practical and emotional support.

THT spokesman Lee Howe said evidence-based figures show Bedford has a high rate of late diagnosis of HIV.

However, with early diagnosis and medication, the chance of infections and complications later on are reduced, offering clients a normal quality of life.

He said: “My aim is to reduce stigma related to HIV and offer evidence based information to our key demographics, Africans and MSM, by working with charities and organisations in and around Bedford.

“Recent statistics show 20 per cent of under 20s believe there is a cure for HIV, however this is untrue but there is available treatment that manages the infection.”

HIV rapid testing is available at the following drop in clinics: CAN Bedford, 21 The Crescent, Bedford, Mondays, 2pm-4.30pm; THT, 4/6 Broadway House, The Broadway, Bedford, Mondays, 6pm to 8.30pm; BRASS, 27b Tavistock Street, Bedford, Thursdays, noon to 3pm

For confidential information about the clinics call Lee Howe on 0758 5889 413.