(Credit: Myles Delahoyde)

Manchester has one of the highest averages of people living with HIV in the UK  according to Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

With 250 new diagnoses every year in the city, getting tested is more important than ever.

The LGBT Foundation in Manchester’s Gay Village is one of the many organisations offering free HIV tests ranging from full screenings to rapid tests, including Salford Royal Hospital and Pendleton Gateway .

Myles Delahoyde, 21, a salford student resident, went to a quick test appointment held at The Clone Zone, Canal Street’s “gay superstore.”

The shop has been open since the HIV pandemic of the 80’s and has become a staple of the Village ever since.

The Clone Zone
(Credit: Myles Delahoyde)

“Everything was quick and painless,” Myles said. “The volunteers talk you through everything and are able to answer any questions you may have before and after the test.”

In a private room, a small amount of blood is taken from the finger by an experienced member of Foundation staff. This is mixed with a solution to give one of two results based on your status 12 weeks ago:

  • Reactive means that something has been found. If you get a result like this, the staff will refer you to a Sexual Health Clinic (GUM) to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Non-Reactive means nothing has been found.
Permission given by LGBT Foundation (Credit: Emily Stewart)

In the end, Myles received a non-reactive result. However, he felt “reassured either way.”

As one volunteer commented: “It’s better than the agonising two week wait from the old days.

“HIV is no longer a death sentence, so people don’t have to live in fear.”

The LGBT Foundation will be hosting tests up until December 3rd, just after World AIDs Day on the 1st. More information on booking an appointment at your local testing site is available here: https://lgbt.foundation/testing

The LGBT Foundation
(Credit: Myles Delahoyde)

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