29 November 2019
Health and Community Services is using World AIDS Day to raise awareness about the condition and to encourage islanders who are unaware of their HIV status, particularly if they consider themselves to be at risk, to attend a free drop-in clinic next week.
The annual event, which falls on Sunday 1 December, aims to unite people worldwide in the fight against HIV, to show support for those living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. It is estimated that 36.7 million people globally live with the virus and there are approximately 100 people in Jersey who have been diagnosed with HIV and receiving successful treatment.
Islanders who want to check their HIV status are invited to attend a free drop-in clinic in the Outpatients’ Department at the Hospital on Wednesday 4 December. The clinic runs from 9am to 11.30am and again from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. To find out more please call Michelle Mulhall or Betty O’Shea 01534 444319.
Dr Ivan Muscat, Consultant Microbiologist/Communicable Disease Control, said: "There have been great advances in recent years in treating HIV which means that people with the condition can now live long and healthy lives – very much as if they did not have HIV.
"Although there is no cure for HIV it is recognised by all health authorities across the world that having an undectectable viral load through treatment means not only that it cannot harm the patient but that if undetectable for more than six months it cannot be transmitted to others. All this is very much starting to alter the face of HIV and reduce the stigma associated with it.
"Anyone can be at risk of HIV, but men who have sex with men, transgender individuals, as well as people from high prevalence countries such as sub-Saharan Africa or who have sex with individuals from high prevalence countries are at particular risk. My team and I would encourage anyone who is concerned they may have the virus to access our services. You can either self-refer, come in via your GP or be tested through your GP. Please don’t worry about coming forward, all consultations are confidential."