By Sophie Atkinson and Samuel Clements
As part of National HIV Testing Week, a sexual health charity has set up free health check sessions throughout Leeds and Yorkshire.
With an estimated 101,000 people living in the UK with HIV, the sexual health charity Yorkshire Mesmac are offering free appointments throughout the city of Leeds and other Yorkshire cities (Hull, York, Bradford, North Yorkshire, Rotherham and Wakefield).
Although in recent years, there has been a decline in the number of HIV positive people, the sexual health charity has warned that there has recently been a small increase.
There are calls for people to get tested, especially men who have sex with men (MSM) and those who are transgender, as HIV severely affects MSM around the world.
James Gibson, a Mesmac staff member, said they’re aiming “to reduce stigma…you wouldn’t have stigma around other diseases like diabetes and that so why would you have it around HIV. It’s just one of those things.”
“We’re trying to break down the stigma and get as many MSM down to test because they fall into our high risk group.”
With National HIV testing week coming to an end, the charity encourages people to get tests regularly, with testing being conducted throughout Yorkshire.