An HIV clinic has opened in a church in response to evidence that members of congregations are not getting tested due to a stigma associated with the virus.

The clinic opened at the Living Flames Baptist Church in Walthamstow on Sunday.

Visitors received advice and support from the ActionPlus Foundation, which says there is a damaging prejudice in some church communities about the virus.

Action Plus founder, Pentecostal minister Rev Fred Annin, cites examples of Christians who have been forced to leave their church because of “moral condemnation”.

He said: "The Bible does not condemn people with HIV as cursed. It shouldn’t be taboo to discuss it in churches.

“It’s a medical condition and people need medical help. Prayer cannot bring our health back when we ignore medicine."

The clinic was operated in collaboration with east London HIV Charity Positive East.

This week is HIV Prevention England national testing week.