DJ Fat Tony – Why I’m Involved with National HIV Testing Week

20 November 2019

We caught up with famous DJ Fat Tony to discuss why he’s involved with this year’s National HIV Testing Week.

Fat Tony, NHTW 2019

I think it’s really important to play my part in raising awareness for issues that affect gay men such as myself. Gay and bisexual men are still one of the hardest-hit communities for HIV, and I believe we need more popular figures within our community to take a stand and help raise awareness about the importance of getting tested and knowing your status.

Knowing your status is something to be proud of. If you have HIV, the sooner you find out you have it, the better it is for your health. If everyone played their part in helping raise awareness about the importance of testing, we could be looking at the possibility of ending new HIV transmissions and stigma altogether. It’s amazing to think that this could soon be a reality, especially when we look back at the detrimental impact HIV once had on the gay community back in the early 80s.

HIV treatment has drastically changed over the years, we just need to make sure that the stigma associated with it is also being tackled. Although we may not see the huge HIV campaign posters and public health announcements plastered everywhere as we did back then, this doesn’t mean that HIV has gone away. It’s still rife in many communities in the UK and it’s time we address it.

If everyone played their part in helping raise awareness about the importance of testing, we could be looking at the possibility of ending new HIV transmissions and stigma altogether.

Although organisations like Terrence Higgins Trust have done so much to help debunk stigma, there are still many misconceptions about HIV in society today. It’s shocking to know that in 2019, people not only still think HIV and AIDS are the same thing, but also still associate death with HIV. This is strange to me especially when we all now know that people on effective HIV treatment can now live long healthy lives.

I do believe the gay community as a whole are very much informed about the realities of HIV in today’s society there are still many of us who may still be afraid to get tested. Knowing your status is nothing to be afraid of. The fear is in not knowing which is why I encourage everyone to fight the fear and get tested.

I was scared when I first got tested, it’s natural to feel a bit nervous your first time but it’s important to remember that no matter what the results say, thanks to treatment you can still live your life as normal. Just remember to take your medication and your good to go.


Get tested

Do your bit to end transmission of HIV in the UK by getting tested.

It is extremely important to get tested for HIV regularly as it is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV or not. If you have HIV, the earlier you find out the sooner you can access life-saving treatment and support enabling you to live a long and healthy life.

In most cases, HIV is passed on because people are not aware they have it and the longer you live with undiagnosed HIV the more likely it is for it to seriously damage your immune system.

Dr Ranj – Why I’m involved with National HIV Testing Week

18 November 2019

We caught up with NHS doctor and TV personality Dr Ranj Singh to find out why he’s supporting National HIV Testing Week.

Ranj, NHTW 2019

Give HIV The Finger is one of the most prominent and popular campaigns that we have in the UK regarding HIV testing. I see the posters everywhere on the bus, on the train and even at work. I got involved in this year’s campaign because as a gay man from an ethnic minority I represent both groups that are drastically affected by HIV in the UK.

From an ethnic minority perspective, we are less likely to come forward, get tested. Even talking about sexual health, in general, is something many just don’t do. Sadly because talking about sex is still a taboo in many communities, many are still very reluctant to get tested and/or get on treatment.

I have wanted to get involved in this campaign for years, and this year the timing was just perfect. I wanted to offer my support to a cause that I believe we all need to be talking more about. It’s great to know that I am now in the position where I can utilise my platform to help educate people on the importance of getting tested and knowing your status.

Sometimes it takes seeing someone who looks like you being represented in campaigns like this to give you the push to go and get tested, and if seeing my face on a poster can encourage at least one person to get tested then I’ll be happy. It’s unfortunate that people’s misconceptions of HIV can deter them from getting tested. Even though we have made so many advances since the 80s, the stigma still remains.

It’s great to know that I am now in the position where I can utilise my platform to help educate people on the importance of getting tested and knowing your status.

I have looked after patients who have HIV, some of my close friends are living with HIV and I must confess that when I was a lot younger due to my lack of knowledge, my opinion of what it was like to live with HIV was clouded by fear. But as society’s understanding and perceptions have changed, so have mine.

Getting tested is nothing to be worried about, I’ve been tested in the past and it’s quick and easy. You’ll be in a better situation knowing your status than not knowing. If you do test positive it’s important to remember HIV is not a death sentence anymore. With effective treatment, people living with HIV can not only live long health lives but they can’t pass it on to others. So no matter what the results are you’re better off knowing either way. You have a responsibility to yourself and your partner(s) to ensure that you look after your sexual health, and part of doing so is getting tested regularly.


Get tested

Do your bit to end transmission of HIV in the UK by getting tested this National HIV Testing Week, 16 – 22 November 2019.

It is extremely important to get tested for HIV regularly as it is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV or not. If you have HIV, the earlier you find out the sooner you can access life-saving treatment and support enabling you to live a long and healthy life.

In most cases, HIV is passed on because people are not aware they have it and the longer you live with undiagnosed HIV the more likely it is for it to seriously damage your immune system.