Getting to grips with the risk of sexually transmitted disease

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Lanarkshire residents are being encouraged to know the risks of HIV, hepatitis B and C and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The message is part of a new national campaign entitled #KnowYourRisk, which aims to raise awareness of the different ways that these infections can be passed on.

The campaign seeks to enable people to judge whether they have been at risk - as “once you #KnowYourRisk, you can do something about it”.

Trish Tougher, NHS Lanarkshire Blood Borne Virus (BBV) networks manager, said: “This campaign is focused at anyone who may have taken risks in the near or distant past but has never been tested.

“Around 37,000 people in Scotland have hepatitis C with over 40 per cent unaware.

“Over 6,000 live with HIV, 13 per cent of who are unaware, and STIs continue to rise.”

She added: “Reducing the number of people who are undiagnosed will not only lead to better health outcomes for those concerned, but will also contribute to reducing new infections.

“There are also a range of effective treatments now available should someone test positive for an infection.

“Today in Scotland, a person living with HIV can live a long, healthy life, hepatitis C can be cured, and effective treatments are also available for a whole range of STIs.”

There are a wide range of testing options now available for people including sexual health clinics, GPs, community services and HIV home test kits.

To find out more about the campaign, visit www.KnowYourRisk.scot

Pictured are Know Your Risk campaign team members (left to right) Mary Hood, NHS Lanarkshire BBV dietician; Trish Tougher (front); Nathan Mwesigwa, African Health Project; Shirley Carr, Lanarkshire Positive Support; Mildred Zimunya, African Health Project; Alison Buesnel, BBV network; Chris Kimber, Terrance Higgins Trust; Dr Claire McGoldrick, NHS Lanarkshire consultant in infectious disease.