Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant last week took the opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis of HIV and to help de-stigmatise the screening process within public perceptions.
Visiting Maidstone Hospital's Rubin Clinic during National HIV Testing Week (17-23 November 2018) Helen met with the NHS Trust's Chief Executive, Miles Scott and Medical Director, Dr Peter Maskell. All three received the finger prick test to show how quick and painless it is.
Helen said 'The face of HIV as a chronic disease has changed enormously over the last thirty years, with medical advances that offer new treatments to improve people's health, prolong life and reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Nevertheless 1 in 8 people in the UK are unaware of their HIV status and I would urge anyone of that status to get themselves tested'.
Medical Director of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Dr Peter Maskell, says: "It was a pleasure to welcome Helen to our Rubin Clinic as we aim to end the stigma around HIV testing, with our innovative team spending a lot of time on education as well as treatment. Helen was able to take time to meet the team and even have a quick and simple finger-prick test herself to help us raise awareness of the ease and normality of being tested, even if you're in a low-risk group."
Confidential Sexual Health services for advice, tests and treatment are available to anyone in the area. For Kent residents over 16 years of age who are just looking for a check-up, a home testing kit is available to order online here.