Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) in Brighton & Hove has begun to offer a new type of rapid result HIV test at its clinic which can detect the virus just four weeks after the date of infection.
Previous tests were only reliable three months after exposure to the virus.
The finger prick blood test will be used at THT’s ‘Fastest’ clinic which is run in partnership with the Claude Nicol Clinic. Results for HIV tests are normally available within an hour.
Mark Cull, Health Promotion Co-ordinator for THT in Brighton & Hove said:
“If you’re worried that you’ve been exposed to HIV, waiting three months for an accurate test result can be agonising. Technology has now moved on, so we’re able to offer reliable tests earlier. If you think you’ve been at risk, you should consider getting a test.
“It’s quick, confidential and could put your mind at rest. However, if you may have been exposed to HIV within 72 hours, speak to a health adviser at the Claude Nicol, to discuss taking PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis). This could prevent you acquiring HIV. PEP is also available, outside clinic hours, at the A&E department of the Royal Sussex County Hospital.”
In 2007, the number of gay and bisexual men being diagnosed with the virus rose to an all-time high of 3,160. In 2008, the figure dropped to 2,760.
It is thought that 24,000 gay and bisexual men are living with HIV in this country, while a further 9,000 are thought to be undiagnosed.
‘Fastest’ takes place at THT’s Brighton centre at 61 Ship Street every Monday (not including Bank Holidays) from 6.00pm to 8.30pm. The service is offered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis so there’s no need to book an appointment, but as the number of tests at each session is limited, it’s advised to arrive early to ensure that you can be seen.
For further information contact THT in Brighton on 01273 764 200.