Special events for National HIV Testing Week

University staff and students have the chance to get information and free testing for HIV and chlamydia at two events put together as part of National HIV Testing Week.

Oxfordshire County Council’s public health department has worked with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s (OUH) Sexual Health Service and the Terence Higgins Trust to organise promotional sessions at Oxford Brookes University and the University of Oxford.

On Tuesday 24 November, advisors will be on-hand in the Students’ Union at Oxford Brookes between 11am and 2pm. They will be offering free chlamydia screening, free instant HIV tests, free condoms as well as information, advice and guidance about sexual health. The event will be repeated at St John’s College, University of Oxford, on Wednesday 25 November.

National HIV Testing Week was established by Terrence Higgins Trust and HIV Prevention England in 2012 in a bid to reduce levels of undiagnosed and late-diagnosed HIV in England. It is estimated over 20,000 people in the UK have HIV but don’t know it; they are therefore are more likely to pass the virus on unwittingly.

Mara Ranieri Davey, Oxford Centre Manager of Terence Higgins Trust, said: “Most people get HIV from someone who doesn’t know they have it and it is this risk that regular HIV tests, along with using condoms, help to mitigate. It is quick and easy to find out your HIV status nowadays and these events will demonstrate that clearly.”

Jackie Sherrard, from the Sexual Health Service, said: “We are delighted to be involved in these events as part of National HIV Testing Week. There are more reasons than ever to know your status; with testing being so quick and effective and treatment for HIV being a reality, it means that people who are diagnosed can live full and lengthy lives.”

Cllr Hilary Hibbert-Biles, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for public health, said: “We have brought the experts on sexual health together to make it simple for students to access some really important information. It’s great to be able to work together in this way and I hope plenty of people take the opportunity to get tested and up-to-date on all the facts.”

Brookes Union Vice President for Student Welfare, Liam Corbally, said: "It's fantastic to have the support of so many local partners in running these sexual health days. These annual events remind students of the importance of sexual health screening. They also make it quick and easy for busy students to be screened there and then, on campus."

Oxfordshire residents who aren’t studying at the universities can access free, confidential HIV tests at their local sexual health clinic or GP surgery. Find the nearest sexual health clinic at www.sexualheatlhoxfordshire.nhs.uk.