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November 25, 2011

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is taking part in World Aids Day on Thursday, December 1, 2011, to help raise the awareness of the risks of HIV.

People can visit the Trust’s Centre for Sexual Health, based at Leighton Hospital in Crewe, to take part in one of the Centre’s free, confidential, same-day-result HIV screening tests.

Rachael Ellks, Consultant in Sexual Health, said: “We have recently seen an increase of 12.8% in the number of new patients attending our clinics with HIV, which is higher than the national average. People in the local area may feel that they aren’t at risk of contracting the virus, but as over a quarter of people infected do not know that they are, the risks may be higher than they think.

“I urge everyone who has never had a HIV test, in particular anybody who feels that they may have been exposed to the virus through unprotected sex or recreational drug use, to visit the Centre and have a same-day test. We offer these tests all year round and, once diagnosed, the HIV virus can be kept under control and treatment can keep the immune system healthy. So the sooner people can get tested, the better.”

To commemorate World Aids Day, the Centre will also be holding an information stand, in association with Body Positive. Here people can find out further information on HIV and Aids, including treatments and HIV prevention. The Trust works closely with Body Positive to ensure that the psychological social care issues which can arise from being HIV-positive are explored and treated.

Moira Grobicki, Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Lead Nurse for Sexual Health, added: “As well as offering free HIV screening, the Centre for Sexual Health also offers a range of free, discreet and confidential advice, testing and medical care for anybody in, or considering, a sexual relationship.

“As well as us seeing an increase in new HIV cases, there have been significant increases in attendances from patients with syphilis, Gonorrhoea, herpes and warts in recent years. We can offer treatment for all of these conditions and more, in a friendly, confidential environment.”

For further information about HIV screening, or anything else relating to sexual health, please contact MCHFT’s Centre for Sexual Health on 01270 612255.

Further Information
The purpose-built Centre for Sexual Health is a specialist outpatient unit located next to the Treatment Centre at the rear of the Leighton Hospital site, and includes individual counselling rooms, examination rooms and a laboratory. Run by a team of both male and female medical staff, the Centre offers free services including:
• Sexual health screening – including tests for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Syphilis
• Cervical smear screening
• Counselling and sexual health advice
• HIV testing and results within 24 hours
• Hepatitis B and C screening
• Contraception and advice, including emergency contraception, pills, injections and implants
• Pregnancy testing
• Free prescriptions
• Free condoms
• Advice and support to people who have experienced a sexual assault.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus which attacks the body’s immune system, which is the body’s defence again diseases.

HIV is different from AIDS, which is when the immune system is so weak that it can no longer fight off a range of diseases with which it would normally cope.

The most affected groups living with HIV in the UK are gay or bisexual males and black African heterosexuals. These two groups equate to around three-quarters of the total HIV diagnoses in the UK.