School of Sport and Health Sciences

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Brighton student nurse teams with charity to provide HIV testing on campus

Nursing student, Vincent Lane, partnered with the Terrence Higgins Trust to provide free HIV testing on University of Brighton campuses this February.

The two-day testing campaign is a personal project of the 51-year-old student mental health nurse, which was inspired by lessons in HIV complex care.

Vincent decided to take action to raise awareness about HIV after becoming concerned about the misconceptions and stigma associated with the disease. His goal is to get more people to know their status as a way of reducing the spread of infections.

With help from academic staff at the University of Brighton’s School of Sport and Health Sciences, the second-year student secured support from Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s largest HIV and sexual health charity, to provide safe and confidential testing for all students and staff of the university.

photo of Vincent LaneVincent said: “I was inspired by the learning on my course to think about HIV testing opportunities for fellow students and it became my project to promote HIV awareness in my academic environment. It’s clear there’s a stigma associated with HIV disease which could be stopping people from getting tested. Testing is really important to stop HIV being passed on, as many people get HIV from an infected person who is unaware of their status.”

With the number of infections among heterosexual people on the rise, Vincent hopes to use this testing event to sensitise the university community about options available for anyone living with HIV.

Vincent added that: “Back in February 2022, statistics from the UK Health Security Agency showed that, for the first time in a decade, the number of new HIV diagnoses was higher among heterosexuals than for gay and bisexual men. It’s important that people understand this reality and that more people, including heterosexuals get tested to avoid living with undiagnosed HIV.”

Senior Health Promotion Specialist with Terrence Higgins Trust, Phillip Wragg said: “Terrence Higgins Trust is proud to be offering HIV testing to the students at Brighton University as part of National HIV testing week, it is really important for everyone to know their HIV status and by supporting our work – we can reach our goal of zero HIV transmissions in the UK by 2030.”

The free testing event was open to all University of Brighton staff and students – the testing process is quick, safe, and confidential.

The event coincided with National HIV Testing Week 2024. The week is set aside to remind the public about the importance of knowing one’s HIV status, as early detection and access to treatment can significantly improve a person’s quality of life and reduce the transmission of the virus.

Kerry Burnett • 16/02/2024

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