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Date: 8 February 2016

Time: 05:53

Hospital staff to hand out HIV advice

Story posted/last updated: 01 August 2013

Sexual health nurses at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) are to distribute condoms to shoppers and workers in the city centre while also testing their knowledge of HIV/Aids.

Staff from the genito-urinary medicine (GUM) department at QEHB will be in the Broad Street and High Street areas on Saturday 1 December to raise awareness of the disease as part of World Aids Day.

They will then take their ‘Be Safe, Get Tested’ message to the Birmingham Gay Quarter centred around Hurst Street to hand out free condoms to young gay men throughout the same evening.

The campaign will also focus on the hospital itself with posters displayed in the main atrium on November 30, providing information about HIV and details of where to get tested. This includes QEHB’s city centre sexual health clinics at Whittall Street, Boots in High Street, and St Martin’s in the Bullring.

At the same time, GUM nurses will be attending the atrium between 09:00 and 17:00 to answer questions from the public about HIV/Aids in the strictest confidence. Condoms will also be handed out, while key-rings and pens will be given to people who can display sufficient knowledge about HIV in a special quiz.

GUM nurse Harpreet Basi said: “This is all about raising awareness of HIV/Aids and to get rid of some of the stigma and taboos associated with it.

“Statistics show that HIV is increasing among heterosexual couples as well as gay men.

“People should be informed that having unprotected sex carries the same risk of catching HIV as it does for chlamydia or gonorrhoea. Some heterosexual individuals think that HIV is not an infection they should worry about. This is not the case and anyone who has had unprotected sex at some time in the past needs to be tested for HIV.”

She added: “Although there is no cure for HIV, it is now perfectly manageable if diagnosed early. It is important for infected people to be diagnosed early and to start treatment on time so that their health would not suffer. Early diagnosis of HIV also prevents its spread to other people.”

Harpreet said they were currently seeing up to ten new patients a week on average who have tested positive for HIV, with ages ranging from 16-60.

GUM staff will be in the Broad Street and High Street areas of Birmingham city centre between 09:00 and 17:00 on December 1, before moving to the Gay Quarter from around 19:00 till 24:00.

They will be wearing t-shirts displaying a red ribbon, which is the symbol of World Aids Day, and handing out information leaflets, condoms and ribbons.

The Whittall Street and Boots clinics, which come under the hospital’s HIV service lead by Dr Kaveh Manavi, are open seven days a week, while the rapid HIV testing clinic at St Martin’s Centre for Health & Healing, next to the church in the Bullring, is open every Tuesday from 12:30 – 5:15.

For more information, please visit the Whittall Street Clinic website.


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