Author: M. G.
What does it mean when you hear the expression ‘normalization of HIV'? For instance it can mean getting an HIV test in places where you go during your everyday life - like in shops, supermarkets, church and so on. If you think that this is science fiction, you're wrong, in fact in the UK many initiatives of this kind have already taken place, such as the free HIV testing clinic that opened in a Baptist church in Walthamstow (London) - and they are actually showing quite successful outcomes.
One of the most recent projects going on right now is in Slough, a town in Berkshire about 20 miles west of central London and identified as one of the HIV ‘hotspot' in the outskirt of UK's capital city. Slough has the third-highest rate of new HIV infections in the south east outside London, therefore Thames Valley Positive Support (TVPS) and the supermarket chain Tesco decided to start their new HIV prevention project there.
This week Tesco provided TVPS with private rooms where customers will be able to take a fast HIV test or discuss any sexual health concern the may have. This is pretty awesome and it shows practical methods able to have impact on the infection rates effectively: we all know that infection by HIV often happens when the seropositive individual isn't aware of his/her status.
TVPS chief executive Sarah Macadam said: ‘Testing in supermarkets has only ever been offered as a one-off event and not on a regular basis. [...] We want to normalise HIV testing and the best way to do that is in everyday environments (therefore) we would like to branch out into leisure centres, gyms and other shops."
Good luck with your project guys, I really hope to see HIV-testing centres soon popping up in the most unexpected places. Where you wouldn't imagine people would get tested often is the best place to offer tests: churches and supermarkets were already taken, what's next? What do you think?