HIV: Wales Testing Week aims to encourage people to get tested

Two campaigners believed the society has to remove the stigma against HIV and the government must do more to stop the transmission.

Murals of HIV activists were revealed in James Street, Cardiff Bay last week to promote HIV testing.

More needed to be done to remove the stigma against HIV and to encourage more people to get tested regularly, said local campaigners.

The call came at the start of Welsh HIV Testing Week which includes online promotion and an off-line talk.

“I think trying to remove the idea that HIV is just on gay men is a big one because for example, women have been very much ignored when it comes to HIV, and ethnic minorities are ignored as well even there is a higher proportion among them. It’s like all the focus is on the gay men,” said Adam Williams, a local campaigner.

Vertical transmission is also called Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT).

Next week, an online campaign, launched by Fast Track Cardiff & Vale, will promote the idea that HIV testing is lifesaving, free, quick and for all. There will be a talk, titled “how can we stop new diagnoses by 2030?”, in Cardiff Central Library next Thursday.

Alessandro Ceccarelli, one of the speakers for the talk, said the campaign aimed to remove the stigma against HIV. To remove the stigma, more people have to know what HIV is and the available resources around it.

Alessandro Ceccarelli, another speaker for the talk, said stigma was connected to the lack of knowledge. To remove the stigma, more people have to know what HIV is and the available resources around it.

Wales has set a goal to eliminate new HIV cases by 2030, Mr William and Mr Ceccarelli believed more work has to be done. They called for the implementation of an HIV Action Plan for Wales, which includes establishing a national HIV surveillance data system.

“There is no unified database for HIV,” Mr William said. “In reality, what we need is a data system where all the HIV data goes into, so someone will monitor them regularly and then we can have real-time data.”

Fast Track Cardiff & Vale has designed downloadable images for people to share the idea of HIV testing is for all.

A report was published this week recommending GPs over Cardiff to send out text messages to their patients offering a free home test kit. A pilot has been practised in Butetown and Grangetown.

Starting from Spring 2020, Frisky Wales, a home testing pilot, has launched for people in Wales to order a test kit for HIV or other sexual-related diseases online.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, an HIV prevention medicine, has become routinely available and free for all people who are clinically appropriate since 2020 after a three-year all-Wales study.