Once again the time is upon us, to wear a red ribbon and think about those who's lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS, all the while, focusing on prevention of this infection, for which there is still no cure.
World AIDS Day is an international observance, intended to raise awareness of current issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, as well as reminding the world to give thought to the prevention of this global pandemic, in addition to the need for research for a cure. WAD was the first international health-awareness day when it was initiated in London in 1988, and remains one of the only ones recognised globally. This year's campaign is titled 'Act Aware', with the idea to improve the understanding, challenge prejudice & discrimination and prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other STI's.
The team at Men's Sexual Health has been touring Wiltshire and Swindon, visiting colleges, pubs and other public locations, raising awareness, promoting a safe sex, collecting donations for ribbons and working to break down barriers and the stigma that is associated with HIV/AIDS. Maybe you've caught one of our radio interviews or seen a press release in the local paper? It's been a very busy time for us, as we try to get the message across, HIV/AIDS has not gone away!
The good news is that for the fourth year running, the amount of people newly diagnosed in the UK has decreased. However, in Wiltshire this is not the case and the number has been slightly increasing. That is why the team at Men's Sexual Health launched the 'Respect the Ribbon, Use a Condom' campaign this year, for World Aids Day. With posters going out to all 90 surgeries and clinics across Wiltshire and Swindon, in addition to colleges, pubs and council offices, we hope to raise the awareness of this issue to the general public, and hopefully at the same time, tackle the stigma and discrimination associated with those living with HIV. With over 90,00 people currently living with HIV in the UK, over a quarter of them are unaware of their status, so we encourage anyone who has put themselves at risk to get tested and to remember to use a Condom, it's not just about respecting your body, its about respecting others.
We hope you are out there doing your part to make Wiltshire and Swindon a more acceptable and open minded county, and hope to see some of you along the way, keep an eye out on our twitter page to see where we've been and will be stopping!
- Over 90,000 people are living with HIV in the UK.
- Over a quarter of people with HIV do not know they are infected.
- The number of people living with HIV in the UK has trebled in the last 10 years.
- 90% of the public do not know all the ways HIV can and cannot be passed on.
For further details and the most up to date statistics, visit www.nat.org.uk