DOCTOR CALLING: By Dr Kevin Hill
Health leaders in South Lincolnshire are backing AIDS awareness – and encouraging people to unite and show support for those living with HIV. Health commissioners are calling on everyone to learn the facts about HIV and to help break down stigmas and negative attitudes towards sufferers of the disease.
HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus which attacks and weakens the body’s immune system.
HIV has claimed over 35 million lives and there are an estimated 34 million people living with the disease globally, 100,000 of those are in the UK alone. The majority of cases are transmitted through unprotected sex, however sharing needles and transition of the virus from mother to baby through pregnancy also presents a huge risk.
Dr Kevin Hill, Chair of NHS South Lincolnshire CCG, said: “If you believe you have been put at risk of contracting HIV you should seek medical advice immediately. Your GP surgery or local sexual health clinic should be able to offer a blood or saliva sample test to detect HIV. If the results are positive you will be referred to a specialist clinic for further blood tests and to discuss treatment options.
Although there is currently no cure for HIV, there is medication available and various lifestyle improvements that can be implemented to enable patients to lead long and healthy lives.”
World AIDS Day takes place on 1st December every year. Visit the NAT (National AIDS Trust) website www.worldaidsday.org to find out about this year’s campaign and to take part in fundraising activities.
You can contact the Lincolnshire Sexual Health Service which provides confidential and non-judgemental advice, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and health promotion for all aspects of sexual health. To book an appointment simply call the central booking line on: 01522 539145. Lines are open 8.30am-6.30pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am-4.30pm on Fridays. All appointments are strictly confidential.