Birmingham supports HIV Testing Week with an awareness and testing campaign for blood-borne viruses

Published: Wednesday, 1st February 2023

A Fast Track Cities+ campaign supported by Birmingham City Council, University Hospitals Birmingham and other partners encouraging people to test for blood-borne viruses starts on Monday 6 February.

Part of the National HIV Testing Week “I Test Because…” campaign, the Fast-Track Cities+ Birmingham campaign will feature a dedicated bus that will tour the city raising awareness of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C – urging people to get tested.

Specially trained staff will be on board to conduct dry blood spot (DBS) tests which test for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Other partners will also be at the bus to provide general information and guidance and direct people to online postal testing services and their GPs if they would like to be tested but do not have time that day. 

The bus will be stationed at the following sites between 9am and 3pm:  

  • Monday 6th February: On Edgbaston Street, by the indoor market
  • Tuesday 7th February: In the Hippodrome Square on Hurst Street by the AIDS/HIV memorial
  • Thursday 9th February:  In Pigeon Park, Cathedral Square 

Councillor Mariam Khan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care for Birmingham City Council, said:

“This campaign will help to play a key role in our drive to end the public health threats and the stigma posed by HIV and other blood-borne viruses. There are communities here with people who either don’t know they have a BBV, or do know, but are too ashamed to seek help. So, the only way we can hope to eliminate BBVs in Birmingham is to educate people about the need to get tested. 

“Getting tested and finding out about infection early means better treatment outcomes as well, as not infecting those you care about without knowing it.”

The aims of this campaign are four-fold: 

  • Increase awareness of what the Fast Track Cities+ programme is and what blood-borne viruses (BBVs) are.  
  • Dispel myths surrounding BBVs using facts, such as, HIV is more prevalent in heterosexuals than gay men and other men who have sex with men and that immediate action after exposure to HIV can prevent transmission
  • Signpost people to information and resources on how they and their friends and family can get tested for BBVs, including signposting people to the national HIV testing week postal test kits and encouraging them to speak to their GPs if they have any concerns.  
  • Reduce the numbers of BBV infections across Birmingham.

Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health for Birmingham City Council, said:

“Getting tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C is really important. In the early stages you can spread the disease and not know you have it, also the longer diseases are untreated the worse they get. So, getting tested is a good way to protect those you love and look after yourself.  Testing is easy, free and confidential – it is as simple as a finger prick test.”

Dr Steve Taylor, HIV Consultant at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and Clinical Lead for Birmingham Fast-Track Cities+, said:

“The only way we can hope to eliminate HIV in Birmingham is to educate the public of the need to get tested, that means addressing the stigma that still surrounds HIV that stops people testing. 

“The Birmingham Fast Track Cities Initiative is aiming to do just that, fight stigma, educate the public and importantly get the residents of Birmingham tested not just for HIV but also for Hepatitis B and C.”

Getting tested is easy, you can talk to your GP for more information and to get tested, or visit to find out the other ways you can easily be tested.

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