People in Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Havering urged to have free HIV test ahead of flu season
PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:16 29 November 2019
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GPs in Havering, Barking and Dagenham, and Redbridge are encouraging people to have a free HIV test to ensure everyone living with the condition can receive the right support to stay healthy.
People with advanced HIV or Aids are more likely to have a weakened immune system - meaning they are at much greater risk from flu. This makes it all the more important they book in for a free NHS vaccination this winter.
Early diagnosis is vital in treating HIV. Those diagnosed late are 10 times more likely to die within a year of diagnosis. Last year, 43 per cent of people found to have the virus in the UK were diagnosed late, which means more need to attend routine HIV testing.
Testing is free and easy in BHR and information on where you can find your local testing centre can be found on the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust website. People can rest assured that, if they are diagnosed with HIV, they can access free treatment and support.
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Ahead of World Aids Day (Sunday, December 1), NHS BHR Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is highlighting the importance of early diagnosis in treating HIV.
People with HIV and other long term conditions can book in for their free flu jab at their GP surgery or local pharmacy. This will help protect them from flu, which can be particularly unpleasant for those with HIV or Aids and lead to serious health complications.
Dr Jagan John, GP and chairman of NHS Barking and Dagenham CCG, said: "Early diagnosis is key to supporting patients to manage HIV as a long-term condition.
"We want to make testing as easy an experience as possible and we would encourage anyone with any concerns to come and get tested. We also want to ensure we don't miss opportunities to test for HIV when patients arrive at the surgery with tell-tale signs.
Dr John added: "It is also vitally important that anyone with HIV or Aids ensures that they have their flu jab this winter. Getting vaccinated will ensure that they don't get flu, which could become a serious issue for those with these conditions."