Health, fitness and Food
African celebrities pledge support for National HIV Testing Week
British Heavyweight boxing champion Dereck Chisora, Game of Thrones actor Lucian Msamati, Labour peer Lord Boateng and fashion model Tolula Adeyemi are among the famous Africans in the UK pledging their support for this year’s National HIV Testing Week (22nd – 30th November).
Dereck Chisora, British Heavyweight boxing champion, said: “As a boxer, we have to test for HIV before every major fight. Over the years, it’s become just another part of my routine, like lacing up my gloves. The tests are so easy, and often you’ll get the results there and then. We need more people to understand how easy it is, particularly guys. We all have a responsibility to know our status and protect ourselves and each other.”
Game of Thrones actor Lucian Msamati said: “I’m proud to support National HIV Testing Week. Testing is a good way to stay in control of your health, whether by accessing anti-HIV drugs if you’re positive, or if you’re negative, taking precautions to stay that way. It’s not just a good thing for your own health, but for the whole community. Please make a commitment to test, and be sure of your status.”
Labour peer Lord Boateng said: “National HIV Testing Week is an opportunity to check out your status. Taking control of your own health by getting tested means staying well by being able to access appropriate health care if you are positive. And, if you are negative, keeping that way by staying safe. Knowing your status is a contribution then not only to your own health but to the wellbeing of the whole community. Let’s make a conscious decision to beat ignorance and the virus and get tested now!”
Fashion model Tolula Adeyemi said: “National HIV Testing Week is a brilliant initiative, and I’m really pleased to support it. Lots of people don’t know that, if you’re diagnosed with HIV in the UK, you’ll be given free treatment on the NHS to help you stay well. It’s a really important message, and I’m proud to be doing my bit to raise awareness.”
In 2013, there were an estimated 38,700 Africans living with HIV in the UK. Two in five African men with HIV and one in three African women with HIV remained undiagnosed. Undiagnosed infection is widely recognised as a key factor driving the UK’s HIV epidemic, as someone who remains undiagnosed is much more likely to pass the virus on unwittingly than someone who has tested and is on treatment. National HIV Testing Week was established by Terrence Higgins Trust and HIV Prevention England in 2012, in a bid to reduce high levels of undiagnosed and late-diagnosed HIV among Africans and gay men in England.
Africans are encouraged to visit www.startswithme.org.uk to pledge their support for National HIV Testing Week, find their nearest testing service, or order a postal HIV test.