Launch of rapid HIV testing in Hampshire

Fears raised over lack of GP surgery at homes site

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IN JUST one minute people can potentially find out if they are carrying HIV.

Solent NHS Trust, which provides sexual health services in Hampshire, is launching its rapid HIV testing on Wednesday, March 26.

QUICK The new HIV test for Hampshire. Picture: Malcolm Wells (14796-5406)

QUICK The new HIV test for Hampshire. Picture: Malcolm Wells (14796-5406)

The free test involves taking a drop of blood from a finger, and in 60 seconds one of three results will be given.

Andrew Smith, sexual health promotion and HIV prevention lead, said: ‘Rapid HIV testing is an opportunity to normalise HIV testing and offers opportunities for people to access a test outside of a clinical setting.

‘Offering tests in the community makes it easier for people to access, and, if needed, to quickly get support.

‘It’s about supporting people to take positive action about their sexual health.

QUICK Scott Deacon, 47, has the new HIV test. Picture: Malcolm Wells (14796-5406)

QUICK Scott Deacon, 47, has the new HIV test. Picture: Malcolm Wells (14796-5406)

‘We realise some people are reluctant to go to clinics for sexual health screening, and we are confident this offers them a different choice in a confidential community setting.

‘We will be offering drop-in sessions in addition to booked appointments.’

Rapid HIV Testing will be done using a test called INSTI, which has been chosen by the trust as it says it provides reliable results and is easy to use.

The test will give one of three results:

· Negative - this means there are no detectable HIV antibodies in your blood using this test.

· Reactive - this means the test has detected HIV antibodies in the blood. A person will be required to have another test at a clinic to confirm the result.

· Invalid – result means the test has not worked and the test would need to be repeated, which is rare.

‘It’s important to stress although the results are available within 60 seconds, we will provide support and counselling before, during and after the testing,’ added Mr Smith.

‘For example, if your test is reactive we will support you to access a second blood test to confirm your result.

‘We will support you to access a clinic and we aim to do this within 48 hours of your test result.’

The service launches next Wednesday in Friendship House, Elm Grove, Southsea, from 3pm to 7pm.