Wake up call to Cambridgeshire for HIV testing after report reveals one quarter of sufferers are unaware they have the infection

World Aids Day is December 1

World Aids Day is December 1 - Credit: Archant

People at risk of HIV have been urged to get tested.

Councillor Kilian Bourke, chairman of the county’s health committee, said: “If you think you may be at risk of having HIV it is vital that you go for a test as soon as possible.

“An early diagnosis could be the difference between living a near normal life and one that could be drastically shortened if you leave it too late.

“Almost 25 per cent of people with the virus are not aware of it and they are at significant risk if it remains undiagnosed.”

A report from Public Health England to coincide with National HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day revealed that nearly a quarter of sufferers are unaware they have the infection.

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There were an estimated 4,290 people living with HIV in East Anglia last year.

Cambridgeshire remains below the England average but half of newly diagnosed people in 2013 were identified late.

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Those who receive a late diagnosis face a ten-fold increased risk of death in the first year.

Early diagnosis and treatment reduces the risk of the infection being passed to others.

Dr Liz Robin, the county’s director of public health, said: “The prevalence of diagnosed HIV in Cambridgeshire is lower than the national average.

“However, we are concerned that people in the county with diagnosed HIV are not coming forward to be tested at early stages of the infection.”

How to get an HIV test:

Ask your GP for an HIV test – nowadays there is no need for lengthy discussion about the test, it just involves having blood taken, or even a finger prick

Go to an open access sexual health clinic.

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