THREE MPs have welcomed the news that the city could be piloted for a new HIV testing regime.

Brighton and Hove MPs Caroline Lucas, Peter Kyle and Lloyd Russell-Moyle, along with the leader of the council Phelim Mac Cafferty, are delighted the city will be able to help normalise HIV testing in the community.

HIV is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system and weakens people's ability to fight infections and disease, and the pilot scheme is hoping to stop transmissions completely by 2030.

Cllr Mac Cafferty said: "Outstanding progress has already been made in the city to increase testing and fight HIV-related stigma.

"This is typified by the recent installation of a vending machine with free sexually transmitted infection, STI, tests in the Jubilee Library.

"Normalising HIV testing across health services is the next step. We are eager to get this pilot underway as we know Brighton and Hove is well placed to be one of the first cities to make it happen.

"That's because in addition to the strong, continued commitment to support people living with HIV, and we are proud to be the host of some of the best support, treatment, and prevention services and community organisations in the country.

"They've been running for many years and working in strong collaboration with our communities and public health teams.

The Argus: Leader of Brighton and Hove Council Phélim Mac CaffertyLeader of Brighton and Hove Council Phélim Mac Cafferty

"An important next step in supporting our communities is to achieve our shared aims for zero HIV infections, zero HIV stigma and zero HIV related deaths."

The plan now is to roll out HIV testing even further to make it available when people attend hospitals and register for a new GP and local pharmacies.

The city also uses HIV test vending machines and has supported many community testing initiatives, including National HIV Testing Week.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: "Our city is a national leader in driving down HIV infections, not least because MPs, the council and local public health teams have worked together on this.

The Argus: Caroline Lucas MPCaroline Lucas MP

"We want to share our experiences with others, and we're also ready to do more.

"I'm glad the health minister seems prepared to work with us towards ending new cases of HIV by 2030 in England".

The health minister Jo Churchill replied to the letter that proposed Brighton and Hove as a pilot city, signed by the city's three MPs alongside the leader of the council, Mr MacCafferty.

The minister said she had asked Department of Health officials to look at the offer and was keen to work with areas like Brighton and Hove to learn from the city's approach to prevention, testing and reducing late diagnosis of HIV.

The MPs are planning to invite Ms Churchill to the city to see what is being done locally to combat HIV infections.

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