A Hampshire MP was among a number legislators who took an HIV test at a ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event hosted by the Halve It Coalition and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS.
22 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.
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.
David Furnish, Chairman of Elton John AIDS Foundation and Halve It said: “Successive governments have demonstrated strong support for increasing HIV testing in a broad array of clinical and community settings, it is now crucial that this leadership actually changes practice on the ground”
The ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event also showcased the recent launch of the NICE local government briefing on HIV testing and the MEDFASH/Halve It toolkit for local engagement.
The event culminated in a parliamentary meeting at which the Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham spoke alongside representatives from NICE, Public Health England, the Greater Manchester Sexual Health Network and the Terrence Higgins Trust on the imperative for translating HIV testing policy into practice.
Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s Director of Health and Wellbeing said: “The new briefing from NICE is an important document for local authorities (who are now responsible for HIV testing) and will help them to decide on the best steps to take locally. We look forward to working with NICE and Halve It to make sure that the document is adopted by local decision makers to realise the health and economic benefits of preventing onward transmission.”