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    Somerset Public Health encourages residents to get tested for #HIVTestWeek

Next week marks the start of National HIV testing week (6-12 February), and Somerset County Council are encouraging anyone who may have put themselves at risk of getting the virus to get tested.

National HIV Testing Week takes place every year to promote regular testing for HIV and aims to identify those who are undiagnosed, avoid late diagnoses, and enable people to start effective treatment immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent potential illness and protect others from HIV infection.

The awareness week also helps to increase knowledge of HIV and testing in communities that are most affected by HIV, as well as the wider population.

Adam Dance, Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset County Council, said:

“HIV Testing Week is a really good opportunity to remind people across Somerset of the importance of regular HIV testing, and break the stigma attached to the HIV virus.

“I test as a routine part of looking after my own health and I would encourage anyone who is unsure of whether they may have contracted HIV to use this opportunity to get a free, confidential test.”

Consultant Dr Kanch Seneviratne at Somerset Wide Integrated Sexual Health added:

“The sooner someone with HIV starts treatment, the better it is for their health. Today, if you test positive, effective treatment means you can live as long as anyone else, and when the amount of the virus in your blood is reduced to undetectable levels, this means you cannot pass on HIV to anyone else.

“Most new HIV infections come from condomless sex with someone who doesn’t know they have HIV so it’s still important to use condoms to protect ourselves.”

In Somerset, late diagnosis is high amongst those who identify as heterosexual, who are less likely to access HIV testing. Late diagnosis is also high in those aged over 50, and those who identify as bisexual men and men who have sex with men.

Testing saves lives: testing for HIV is so important because of all the benefits of knowing your status, whether it is testing negative and gaining access to prevention advice and knowledge of how to stay negative; or if testing positive and having access to effective well tolerated treatment which means you can live a normal life and be confident that you cannot pass HIV to sexual partners.

HIV treatment has made huge advances and enables those living with the HIV to lead stable and healthy lives without worrying about passing the virus to others. Testing for HIV is free and puts you in control. You can access a free test at www.freetesting.hiv or it can be done in person at any of the SWISH clinics.

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Financial Risk Management Policy - March 2023

Grant Application Kings Coronation Form

The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III will take place on Saturday 6th May 2023, with an additional bank holiday on Monday 8th May 2023.

We are keen to hear from groups/organisations in Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge that are looking to celebrate the Coronation. The Town Council has £1500 available to allocate to events being organised to celebrate the Kings Coronation. The maximum grant to be allocated per event will be £500.

You must meet the following criteria for your application to be considered:

– The event will be open to all members of the public

– The event will be free of charge

– The event will take place within the Coronation weekend

– The event will take place within Burnham on Sea or Highbridge

 

Applications will close on Monday 6th March at midday. 

Your organisation and contact details

What happens next....
Applications will be considered at the Finance and Resources Committee Meeting on Monday 13th March 2023. You will be notified after this date whether your application has been successful.
Burnham & Highbridge Town Council takes your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information for the purposes of contacting you about this grant. The Council’s privacy notice can be found here.

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