Nathan has been an ambassador for the charity since its launch five years ago. This year they are sending a simple message: stigma kills, and testing saves lives.
“There are lots of myths about HIV that are all false,” Nathan says. “But the stigma still means people can be nervous about getting a test.”
One in five of those living with HIV in the UK do not know they are infected. Late diagnosis of HIV is associated with poorer health outcomes.
“Today’s medicines mean that a person can live a full and long life with HIV,” says Dr Steve Taylor, Saving Lives’ Medical Director and a lead consultant in HIV at Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital. “But early diagnosis is key – and that’s why this year we’re stressing that getting tested is crucial.”
Saving Lives are making available free home HIV testing kits via their website www.takeatestuk.com. The discreet kits can be used to take a sample at home, and sent back off to Public Health England for analysis. Results are received in days.
“The message is simple: anyone can get HIV, so all need to keep ourselves checked out,” says Redmond. “Don’t let nerves or myths keep you from taking the test – you can do it in your living room totally privately, and HIV tests save lives. We need to stop the stigma.”
People who wish to get their free home HIV testing kit can log on to www.takeatestuk.com and enter the code SAVE16 when ordering.