Barnsley Football Club is working with the national charity Saving Lives to send a simple public health message: we can all make a difference to the spread of HIV.
New data recently released by Public Health England shows there are still more than 10,000 people living with HIV who are unaware they are infected.
So Saving Lives has been busy in the last few weeks promoting the importance of HIV testing in improving people’s health and stopping the spread of HIV.
Gary Gardner is supporting the charity’s campaign this year. “You can get tested for HIV with a simple finger prick blood test,” he says. “The number of people who don’t know they have HIV is on the way down – but getting tested is the only way to know for sure.”
Barnsley FC is working with Saving Lives to promote getting tested as the best way to keep HIV at bay. Today, the biggest danger to people with HIV is being diagnosed late: this year’s figures show that those diagnosed promptly, and who take their medicine, have the same life expectancy as the general population.
“It’s so important to get diagnosed early,” says the Medical Director of Saving Lives, Dr Steve Taylor. “If you’re diagnosed early and take your medication, not only can you live a healthy, long life – your HIV is also untransmittable, meaning you won’t infect your partners.
“This is fantastic news for stopping the spread of HIV , but will only work if we get people tested.”
The majority of new HIV infections can be traced back to someone who was living with HIV but didn't know it. People can spend several years living with the virus without experiencing any symptoms – and the new data suggests that heterosexuals are still the group most likely to be diagnosed at a very late stage when treatment is less effective
“Get tested, and get tested regularly,” added Gary. “It's really simple. You can do it online, at your GP surgery, or local sexual health clinic. Whatever you choose, just #GetTested - #HIVtestingsaveslives.”