TV presenter Dr Christian Jessen, Erasure singer Andy Bell, comedian Joe Lycett, Coronation Street actor Charlie Condou and The Feeling frontman Dan Gillespie Sells are all pledging their support for this year’s National HIV Testing Week.
Dr Christian Jessen, presenter of Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies, said: “I fully believe that one day, we will stop HIV in its tracks. Organisations like Terrence Higgins Trust are already doing great work in driving down undiagnosed infections, but they can’t do it on their own. Supporting National HIV testing Week is something every one of us can do to show we still care about HIV, and we still want to keep ourselves and others safe.”
Dan Gillespie, lead vocalist with The Feeling, added: “It’s incredible how quick and easy tests are these days. They take a pin-prick of blood from your finger, and you have your results within minutes. You can even fit a test in to your lunch break. I’ll be telling every gay man I know to get involved this November, and I hope you will too.”
Erasure frontman Andy Bell, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1998, said: “When I was tested for the second time and found out I was HIV positive, I thought my world was going to collapse and cave in but thankfully this test actually saved my life. The sooner you find out whether you are positive (or negative), the sooner you can start your combination therapy and get the virus under control and live your life normally.”
Actor Charlie Condou, who plays Marcus Dent in Coronation Street, added: “Knowing your HIV status is so important. If you’re positive, it means you can access the meds you need to stay fit and well, and if you’re negative, it’s a great way to get peace of mind. We each have a responsibility to keep HIV in check, and testing is just one thing we can do to keep fighting the virus.”
You can visit www.startswithme.org.uk to pledge your support for National HIV Testing Week.