Two Welsh international footballers are supporting the UK-wide charity Saving Lives to get across a simple message: when it comes to HIV, stigma kills.
Saving Lives is a charity promoting HIV testing as a way of fighting a virus which affects 100,000 people in the UK. One fifth of those people have no idea they are infected.
“There are still a lot of myths about HIV, and that means people are nervous about taking the test,” says Sam Vokes, who plays for Burnley as well as the Welsh national side. “But that means people are getting sicker than they need to.”
The charity’s Medical Director, Dr Steve Taylor, says that testing saves lives: “Today’s medicines mean you can live a full and long life with HIV,” he explains. “But the earlier you get diagnosed, the better – and a simple blood test is all it takes.”
2016’s National HIV Testing Week starts on November 19th. From that date until World AIDS Day on December 1st Saving Lives will offering free home HIV testing kits through www.takeatestuk.com.
The confidential free kits allow people to take their own sample in the comfort of their own home, and send them off for analysis by Public Health England. Results are sent out within days.
“Taking the test has never been easier,” says Crystal Palace and Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey. “Anyone can get HIV, so there’s no reason not to take the test and make sure. It just makes sense.”
To claim your free HIV home testing kit, simply visit www.takeatestuk.com and enter the code SAVE16 when ordering.