With National HIV Testing Week approaching, a council is encouraging residents to know their HIV status.

HIV is still a public health issue in London, with Redbridge having a high number of people diagnosed at later stages of the infection.

National HIV Testing Week, November 16-22, is a national campaign to encourage regular testing among the most-affected population groups, aiming to reduce the rate of undiagnosed people and those who are diagnosed late.

An early test helps you to ensure you are treated early, get the support you need, avoid becoming ill and prevent the infection being passed to others.

You will also have a much better chance of living longer.

This year, the Redbridge Council through its partner Positive East will be hosting a series of events that will allow residents to get rapid confidential HIV tests with results in less than 60 seconds, alongside key health and HIV prevention messages.

Gladys Xavier, Redbridge Council’s director for public health said: “Knowing your HIV status could save your life and others. It is proven that people who are HIV positive and take the right medication can live as long as someone of a similar age and background.

“If you are HIV positive, on treatment and have a suppressed viral load you cannot pass HIV on to your sexual partners, so I urge you to get tested.”

For other ways to get free and confidential HIV testing and advice, head to www.freetesting.hiv or book an appointment at Outpatients East, Barking Hospital by calling 0208 924 6674