The Leader of Richmond Council has taken a HIV test in an effort to encourage more residents to test for the virus.

Councillor Gareth Roberts, took the simple finger-prick blood test to demonstrate how quick it is to have the test – with results delivered within 20 minutes.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:“We commission Spectra London to deliver confidential HIV testing clinics in locations across the borough, encourage people to get tested and to promote awareness, as well as understanding, of this condition.

"The advances in medical science over recent years make early diagnosis all the more important, not just for the person concerned who can receive treatment, but their family as well.

“The test is simple, quick and relatively painless. That is why I am happy to help mark World AIDS Day by undertaking this test. I encourage others to give HIV the finger and get tested….today!”

Around one in eight people with HIV still don’t know they are infected. In Richmond, with a range of different testing methods, including a simple, quick and accurate finger prick, it is easy to get tested.

Richmond’s HIV figures are lower than the London average, but are still considered high, with a rate of 2.45 per 1,000 adults aged 15 years or above. Approximately, 287 Richmond residents were newly infected with HIV in 2018.

Despite the borough having a lower rate of HIV figures than other boroughs - Richmond Council would still very much like to see rates of undiagnosed and late diagnosed HIV reduced.