Trio of Villa stars help launch national HIV testing week
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is this week enlisting the help of Villa players Ciaran Clark, Fabian Delph and Eric Lichaj to raise HIV awareness across the West Midlands.
As part of England's first ever National HIV Testing Week, the Villa stars are helping the team at the Trust not only raise awareness of the risks of HIV but also encourage people to get tested.
There are over 91,000 people infected with the HIV virus living in the UK and 24% of these individuals do not know that they are infected.
Dr Joseph, Consultant in HIV Medicine at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said: "It is extremely important to raise the profile of HIV across the West Midlands.
"A lot of people do not realise that they have the disease and as a result it is often much more life-limiting than it would be if treatment is started early."
Villa and Ireland defender Clark added:"As a club we are always happy to support in raising awareness of important health issues. HIV is a serious disease and it is extremely important that people get tested."
As well as raising awareness at The Manor Hospital in Walsall, the sexual health team will be out across the borough offering free and confidential advice and testing for anyone who is worried about HIV or just wants a check-up.
National HIV Testing Week, which is planned to be an annual event, is being co-ordinated through HIV Prevention England (HPE), a partnership of community organisations funded by the Department of Health to carry out national HIV prevention work in England among communities at an increased risk of infection.
It forms the centrepiece of HPE's autumn campaign Think HIV, which aims to encourage people at high risk of HIV, particularly gay and bisexual men and Africans, to test more regularly for the virus.
The week will conclude with World AIDS Day on Saturday.