Sexual health charity puts faith in HIV prevention scheme

'Fingerprick' HIV testing can give initial results in minutes
'Fingerprick' HIV testing can give initial results in minutes
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A county-based sexual health charity is calling on leaders from the faith community to help on a new HIV prevention programme.

Herts Aid is launching a new project on January 29, in which it aims to working with churches and faith groups in Hertfordshire to get them involved in HIV testing, prevention and support.

The scheme, called ‘Testing Faith’ is particularly designed for faith leaders supporting black and Asian minority ethnic congregations, allowing them to positively address issues surrounding sexual health and support people affected by HIV in their community.

The charity says that although HIV can affect anyone, the black and Asian communities in the UK are disproportionately affected. The proportion of people diagnosed with HIV late is also higher amongst these communities than the general population.

HertsAid director Suzanne Bannister said: “Talking about HIV and sexual health isn’t always easy, but we want faith leaders to do just that, helping to tackle stigma and make people living with HIV feel less isolated.

“When things are difficult, people often turn to their faith leaders for guidance and this new project will help faith groups respond to those affected by HIV. Raising awareness and promoting testing will also help to prevent HIV being passed on.

“While it might seem strange for sexual health charities and churches to work together, it actually makes perfect sense.”

The Testing Faith project has three key elements including a training course for faith leaders on HIV and sexual health, the creation of a sexual health plan to educate the congregation and offer support and an HIV testing event or referral process.

There are still spaces available on the next Testing Faith course.

Faith Leaders interested in attending should contact Denise Blair on 01923 803 440 or email denise@hertsaid.co.uk