This week (18-25th November) marks HIV test week – promoting the benefits of regular screening and early testing to gay or bisexual men as well as black African men and women.
These groups make up 7/10 of those living with HIV in the UK.
In the first 6 months of this year, 8 more people were diagnosed with HIV in the Forth Valley area – bringing the overall number of people living with the disease to 173.
Commenting, Stirling MP Steven Paterson said:
“HIV Testing Week is a positive way to promote health screening that most people just aren’t comfortable talking about. It is so important that people who are most at risk of exposure are regularly tested – when diagnosed early, most people living with HIV are able to live normal full lives.
“Whilst there are encouraging advancements in medical science in helping us battle the HIV virus, there is still no known cure. However, NHS Scotland does offer Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) treatment for those who feel they have been put at risk within a previous 72-hour period. This treatment can eradicate the HIV virus after it has entered a person’s system, but it must be administered quickly.
“The Scottish Government is also looking at the benefits of PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) which is a continuous treatment said to prevent any HIV infection when brought into contact.
“It must be stressed how important regular screening is and that’s why I am urging constituents to get tested. Find out more information about sexual health services in the Forth Valley area by visiting the website: http://www.centralsexualhealth.org/.”