Equalities Minister Stuart Andrew visited the city to see its world-leading HIV and sexual health services to mark National HIV Testing Week.

The minister paid a visit to the Terrence Higgins Trust charity in Ship Street, Brighton, to see how easy it is to test for the virus and also see the city’s HIV and sexual health services.

Mr Andrew tested himself using an HIV self-test which provides a result in just 15 minutes.

He said: “Scaling up HIV testing is crucial to ending new HIV transmissions within England by 2030.

“This test is free, easy and confidential and comes with clear and simple instructions.

“I’m thankful for the vital work that the Terrence Higgins Trust and other service providers do in this area.”

Latest HIV data from 2022 shows that one quarter of people who were diagnosed with HIV in Brighton were at a late stage, meaning they tested positive after the virus had already started to damage their immune system. This is, however, much lower than the national average of 48 per cent.

To mark National HIV Testing Week, Terrence Higgins Trust is hosting pop-up HIV testing clinics in the city to encourage residents to get tested and know their status.

Trained staff from the charity will be offering free and confidential HIV tests, as well as information about sexual health and free condoms, at the University of Brighton tomorrow.

Marc Tweed, service manager at Terrence Higgins Trust Brighton, said: “Sometimes people are worried about getting a test or don’t have the time. By testing at the university, we hope to show that testing for HIV is easier than you think.

“Getting tested regularly should be something we’re all doing in order to protect ourselves. Today, if you test positive, effective treatment means you can live as long as anyone else and it stops you from passing on HIV to partners by reducing the amount of the virus in your blood to undetectable levels. This means that the levels of HIV become so low that the virus cannot be transmitted.

“Testing for HIV puts you in control and is nothing to be feared.”