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One of region’s MPs praised for taking HIV test

PUBLISHED: 07:07 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 07:08 23 November 2018

Matthew Hancock. PIC: Phil Morley, Archant.

Matthew Hancock. PIC: Phil Morley, Archant.

Archant

One of the region’s MPs has been praised for showing leadership in efforts to normalise testing for HIV after he himself was tested for the virus.

Matt Hancock, health secretary and MP for West Suffolk, has urged people to take an HIV test, by tweeting a picture of himself undergoing the procedure.

Mr Hancock said he had the “quick, easy and pain-free” finger prick to coincide with HIV Test Week.

He was praised by HIV charity Terence Higgins Trust for showing “leadership” as efforts continue to normalise testing for the virus.

Mr Hancock tweeted: “Today I took the quick, easy and pain-free test for #HIVTestWeek. Whatever you do this HIV Test Week, make sure you get tested & know your status. @HIVPreventionEn.”

Debbie Laycock, head of policy at the trust, said: “It’s hugely significant to have this kind of leadership from the Secretary of State in showing how quick and easy it is to test for HIV to mark National HIV Testing Week.

“This is exactly the kind of role modelling we need as we work towards fully normalising HIV testing in this country.”

Mr Hancock followed in the footsteps of the Duke of Sussex, who took a public HIV test alongside Rihanna on World Aids Day in 2016.

Prince Harry also spoke out to mark the beginning of National HIV Testing Week, which began on Saturday.

In a video message he called for HIV testing to be seen as “completely normal and accessible”, adding that people should not feel ashamed or embarrassed about taking a test.

The Terrence Higgins Trust has been hosting a variety of events to mark National HIV Testing Week in Norfolk.

The week encourages people to get tested for the virus, particularly gay and bisexual men, and black African men and women.

From November 19 to 23 there has been free and confidential HIV testing appointments between 9am to 4pm at the Norwich iCaSH clinic.

Call 01603 226666 to book an appointment.

On November 21, The Forum in Norwich hosted tests between 2pm and 4pm.

While tomorrow night (Saturday, November 24) people will be able to take a free HIV self-sampling kit at the Catherine Wheel pub in Norwich.

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