Terrence Higgins Trust is launching a series of HIV information leaflets for African communities to coincide with World AIDS Day on December 1st. Comedienne Gina Yashere is backing the publications, which have also been supported by Barclays.
The leaflets - 'HIV & sexual health', 'Condoms', 'HIV testing', and 'Sexual Health Clinics' - will inform people about how HIV is transmitted, how to prevent HIV using condoms, and where to go to get an HIV test and treatment. They will also explain what to expect if you visit a Genito Urinary Medicine Clinic (GUM) or sexual health clinic.
According to Health Protection Agency figures, over 22,000 people from ethnic minority communities are currently living with HIV in the UK and are under the care of an HIV specialist. The majority, (15,750) are black Africans, and over 3,000 black Africans were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2005. But the true number is higher still, as a third of people living with HIV do not know they have the condition and have not been tested.
Marc Thompson, Programme Development Manager at Terrence Higgins Trust said:
"We hope that these leaflets will dispel the myths surrounding HIV and give people the information they need to protect themselves.
"We also know that people from African communities are more likely to be living with undiagnosed HIV because they have not been tested. So it's vital that we encourage people who may have put themselves at risk to be tested."
Gina Yashere, a supporter of Terrence Higgins Trust backed the leaflets saying:
"HIV is such an important issue today. We can't ignore it and it won't go away by itself. That's why I'm supporting these leaflets by the Terrence Higgins Trust. If you don't know your HIV status or if you're not sure how to protect yourself then get hold of a leaflet or check out the website and get your facts straight."
Terrence Higgins Trust has also produced a leaflet on PEP (post exposure prophylaxis), treatment which can reduce the chances of HIV infection if taken within 72 hours of exposure.
You can get a copy of the new leaflets by visiting www.tht.org.uk/publications or by calling the Terrence Higgins Trust helpline, THT Direct on 0845 12 21 200.