Rapid HIV Testing – Coming to you

1st December is World AIDS Day and the global theme is “Know your Status.” A finger-prick 60 second test is all it takes if you are unsure of your HIV status. Head over to this Testing Locator by our friends HIV Ireland to find your nearest venue.

ACET Ireland is launching a new HIV awareness and testing initiative for faith communities on World AIDS Day, Saturday 1st December. This is a day when we remember the many millions who have died in the global pandemic and recognise our role in responding to the current challenges. With over 1,000 people living with HIV in Ireland undiagnosed and rates of late diagnosis among the highest in Western Europe it is vital that HIV testing is brought to where people are at.

ACET’s project involves free, confidential and rapid HIV tests being offered to faith communities around the country. However barriers to testing are not merely understood in terms of access or availability. They are also about the complexities of culture, expectation, place, secrecy and much more. For Christians our faith in Jesus must interact with all these realities. These are issues ACET are eager to get stuck into as part of our work supporting local churches. With highly trained staff our workshops, discussions and supports do more than just offer a test, they encourage congregations and their leaders to engage with the challenges of integration, of diversity and of mission. 

HIV treatment is now so effective that if a person is adhering to their medicine and have what is called an ‘undetectable load’ of the virus (as is the case for almost all who adhere) then sexual transmission to another person is impossible. This is called U=U,  Undetectable = Untransmittable,  and is changing the story of HIV. The UK has seen a 28% decrease in HIV diagnoses over the past two years in part as a result of the impact of treatment as prevention. Ireland is still yet to turn this corner. Testing, therefore, plays a vital role.

“We are bringing rapid HIV testing but we are bringing much more than that. New realities of the impact of HIV treatment completely transforms people’s perspective of the story of the virus.” said ACET CEO, Richard Carson. “Most of our work is with migrant-led and multicultural churches. We must engage our testing with deeper discussions on what integration means so that we can truly listen well to one another,” stated ACET Researcher Ifedinma Dimbo whose work on migrants’ interactions with the Irish health service shows startling gaps and opportunities for improvement

For more information on this project contact ACET at dublin@acet.ie

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