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Campaign to beat HIV comes out of the clinic with community testing sessions

November 24, 2023

Staff from our sexual health services marked Wales HIV Testing Week by taking the campaign against the virus out of the clinic and into the community.

For the first time, members of our teams offered point-of-care HIV testing at pop-up sessions in community venues in Bangor and Wrexham.

Participants were able to get a result from a finger prick test inside 20 minutes, plus additional sexual health and wellbeing support.

Dr Ushan Andrady, Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV at Ysbyty Gwynedd, said: “Testing is one of the key ways we can tackle HIV as we aim to reach the Welsh Government’s target of no new infections by 2030.

“We are really pleased to have been able to make testing easy to access in this way – and look forward to taking part in more initiatives to normalise and increase rates of HIV testing in North Wales.”

A busy session took place at Bangor University Students Union earlier this week, while tests were also offered at a Pride Wrexham LGBTQ+ community event held at Wrexham Rugby Club.

Sexual health teams were supported by colleagues from the health board’s Harm Reduction and Health Protection services.

The health board is also working alongside Fast Track North Wales – a part of the Fast Track Cymru network, which aims to end HIV in Wales and help communities reach international targets for prevention and treatment.


Treatment for HIV

Last year, 101 people were diagnosed with HIV in Wales. One in three were women.

Clinical advances allow people with HIV to live long and healthy lives. Treatment can also prevent people living with HIV from passing the virus on to others. 

But it is important to diagnose the virus early. In 2022, more than four out of every 10 new HIV patients in Wales were diagnosed late, with the infection well advanced before treatment could begin.

Late diagnosis increases the risk of ill health, complications and onward transmission of HIV. People who are diagnosed late have typically been living with undiagnosed HIV for around three to five years.


Free, confidential testing

Getting tested is free, easy and confidential. Anyone in Wales can order a free, confidential home test kit online, or visit a local sexual health clinic.