Why HIV positive James is one of our Leeds heroes of 2018

Brave James shares his personal story of living under the cloud of HIV with the Yorkshire Evening Post's readers this year.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 28th December 2018, 4:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:29 am
James Ward spoke out on the Yorkshire Evening Post website in order to raise awareness of HIV
James Ward spoke out on the Yorkshire Evening Post website in order to raise awareness of HIV

While two out of every 1,000 people in Leeds have HIV, an eighth of those infected are unaware.

The YEP in November revealed the alarming statistic ahead of national HIV Testing Week, as health bosses in the city announced that A&E departments will now be taking part in a new pilot to boost diagnoses numbers.

Patients undergoing routine blood tests at emergency departments in Leeds are now also being be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C as part of the groundbreaking six-month pilot programme launched last month.

-> Leeds man opens up about HIV diagnosis as hospitals reveal plan to test people in A&EIn an effort to encourage others to seek help, James Ward, from Chapel Allerton, shared his own personal journey following his diagnosis in 1996.

His bravery is today being recognised as he has been chosen to feature as one of the Yorkshire Evening Post's Leeds Heroes of 2018.

Mr Ward, 47, now lives a healthy life, supports others with HIV and has “undetectable” levels of the virus, after starting treatment two years ago when doctors finally recommended it following a change in guidelines.

“I was so proud to be featured in the YEP this year, to be able to raise awareness of HIV,” Mr Ward said.

“Our generation stands on the brink of defeating this cruel virus, if enough people become aware of the latest science.

“HIV is a manageable condition these days; people on effective treatment will live a normal life and can’t pass it on to their sexual partners. So there’s every reason to get tested and know your status.”