Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South, was one of many legislators who took an HIV test at a ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event hosted by the Halve It campaign and the APPG on HIV & AIDS.
MPs, Peers and Councillors took a test administered by clinicians from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in an act of solidarity with all those living with HIV across the world every day of the year, and in demonstration of the UK’s policy commitment to HIV testing. This was the second HIV testing marathon run by the Halve It campaign. Last year, a record 22 parliamentarians took an HIV test. During the event members of the Halve It steering group, including leading HIV clinicians and CEOs of patient and policy organisations, spoke with parliamentarians about HIV testing and related sexual health issues.
After taking an HIV test Mike said:
‘HIV is a significant public health issue in this country. I am proud to show my support for the 107,800 people living with HIV today in the UK. It is inspiring to see so many local and national stakeholders working together to drive change.’
In the UK an estimated 107,800 people live with HIV every day of the year; 24% of these are undiagnosed and 42% are diagnosed late. The sooner HIV is diagnosed the sooner appropriate care can begin, and thanks to medical advancements the life expectancy of someone living with HIV has increased markedly in recent years. By ensuring that HIV testing becomes routine there will be significant long-term savings; with one early HIV diagnosis saving the NHS £63,061.