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Elton John's Partner David Furnish Joins In UK Drive For HIV Testing

posted 30 Nov 2013, 18:03 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 30 Nov 2013, 18:04 ]

Elton John's civil partner David Furnish takes part in hospital campaign to test everyone who walks through the doors for HIV.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND, UK (RECENT) (ITN) -  British people are being urged to take an HIV test when they walk through hospital doors, as part of a drive to combat the hidden face of the epidemic - people who are infected but do not know it.

Leading up to World AIDS Day on Sunday (December 1) Testing Week sees hospitals across England launch their biggest ever HIV-testing campaign.

Latest estimates show that the number of infected people who do not know could be as high as 22,000 in the UK. One fifth of people who are HIV positive don't actually know it.

Leicestershire AIDS Support Services has released a promotional video urging people to get tested.

Barts Health Trust in London is holding the biggest-ever hospital-based HIV testing campaign across their six sites in east London at outpatient clinics.

They are aiming to make it as normal as having any other blood test.

Physicians say it is way cheaper to test for HIV and treat early, than to wait until the disease takes hold.

The HIV rates in east London are three times higher than the national average. The numbers of HIV infected women and children are also significantly higher.

In one morning at just one outpatient clinic 57 out of 75 patients had agreed to be given the green sticker indicating they were willing to be tested.

"I was a regular blood donor in my country. I've donated blood several times, maybe 30 to 35 to 40 times, so I am thinking, let me have a test," said one unidentified male patient.

Also there to see the campaign and be tested was Elton John's civil partner, filmmaker David Furnish.

"I think symbolically, if I am going to talk the talk, I need to walk the walk. Even though I am in a committed relationship, I want it to be part of my routine testing in the same way I get all my other blood parameters tested. I feel symbolically as chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation it is something I should do," he said.

Having the advantage of an instant test, Furnish was able to see instantly that his test was negative.

Hospital trusts say they will continue to push for all patients who walk through the door to be tested in the hope of it becoming the norm.


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