Students urged to 'give HIV the finger' during National HIV Testing Week

Thousands of students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be given the opportunity to be tested for HIV during National HIV Testing Week.

An HIV testing clinic is being held at the Breathing Space on DMU’s campus from Saturday 17 November until Friday 23 November, which is free and open to all students and staff.

Rusi HIV test

The clinic is provided by Leicestershire charity LASS, who work collaboratively to raise awareness about HIV and sexual health and provide support and advocacy services for people who are living with or affected by HIV.

Students are being encouraged to ‘give HIV the finger’ by taking a simple finger prick test which can provide an immediate diagnosis of HIV.

Professor Rusi Jaspal, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, was given an early test last week in order to show students how simple and beneficial the test is.

He said: “I really wanted to demonstrate to our students how quick, easy and painless it is to have an HIV test. It’s something that we should all be considering because if we really want to end the HIV epidemic, which is absolutely possible, we’ve got to know our HIV status.

“Awareness is key, and if the test does come back positive, nowadays the prognosis for somebody living with HIV is very good if they start treatment early.

“I think it’s really important for students to know that this service is available. They will be fully supported by the excellent team and provided with the services they need if necessary.”

The test takes only a few minutes and consists of a small drop of blood being extracted from a finger and then mixed with a solution which will identify HIV within around five minutes.

Healthy-DMU-main

Alastair Hudson, Chief Executive of LASS, said: “We’re hoping to enthuse staff and students with the opportunity to test for HIV.

“Testing is one of the most crucial aspects of HIV management and prevention. We know that living with HIV nowadays can be as simple as one tablet a day for most people and it can have negligible impact on your health and wellbeing if you’re in diagnosed care and managing your diagnosis well.”

The clinic is part of the wider #HealthyDMU initiative, which aims to create an environment that focuses on health and wellbeing so students live a healthy, happy and productive life.

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#HealthyDMU provides resources that support students’ development and studies, helping them to succeed and to achieve their potential.

Head of Student Welfare Phil Scarffe explained: “We’re aware of the fact that there are a lot of people who have HIV that haven’t been diagnosed and that is particularly relevant in the BAME community.

“We’re providing this clinic in order to give as many students as possible the chance to receive a test and any subsequent support that they might need.”
Posted on Monday 19th November 2018

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