Routine HIV tests are to be offered across Greater Manchester for the first time, thanks to a new sexual health service.
The move is expected to boost early diagnosis and treatment of both HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) reducing the spread of the disease and helping people live well for longer.
The PaSH (Passionate about Sexual Health) Partnership has been contracted by Salford City Council on behalf of all the Greater Manchester councils. It’s a collaboration between BHA for Equality, George House Trust and the LGBT Foundation all of which currently deliver HIV and STI prevention and support services across Greater Manchester.
Salford Councillor Tracy Kelly, lead member for adult services, health and wellbeing, said: “This is a huge step forward. People who have HIV have more chance of leading long and healthy lives with early diagnosis and treatment yet one in every six people nationally is living with undiagnosed HIV. That compromises their health and quality of life and risks spreading the disease further.
“Routine testing will save lives and break down some of the fear and stigma still attached to HIV and take us a long way towards our ambition of ending all new cases of HIV in Greater Manchester within a generation.”
The two year contract started this month (July) and the PaSH Partnership plans to roll out a comprehensive programme to meet the changing needs of residents newly diagnosed with HIV, people living long-term with HIV or at greatest risk of acquiring HIV. They will work alongside GPs and sexual health clinics giving people even more choice about where to get help, support and treatment.
Services will be provided in centres and in the community and will include one to one support and free condoms, PaSH will also launch a new website to make it easier to get information and advice about HIV and support services across Greater Manchester.