STOP the STIGMA: SPREAD the LOVE
2016 is the year when we focus on ending the stigma associated with HIV infection. Most people infected with HIV who are treated do not develop AIDS, and the disease is now well controlled with the latest generations of drugs.
HOWEVER there are still lessons to learn about HIV/AIDS, and the biggest one is prevention.
Educate yourself about HIV and AIDS and the risks.
According to the Terrence Higgins Trust:
“Around 103,700 people were living with HIV in the UK at the end of 2014.
Of these 103,700, over 17,629 (one in six) don’t know they have HIV because they have never had an HIV test or they got HIV since their last test.
Recent years have seen around 6,000 people test positive for HIV each year – more than half are gay and bisexual men.
Around 44,980 gay and bisexual men and around 54,000 heterosexuals were estimated to be living with HIV in the UK by the end of 2014.
In the heterosexual population of those living with HIV, 55% are from black African communities but 45% are not, with over 24,000 from other communities.
The fastest growing group of people living with HIV are those aged 55 and over, with one in six people now accessing care for the condition.
London has the largest numbers of people living with HIV but numbers are growing in every part of the UK.”
Which groups are most affected by HIV? (http://www.tht.org.uk/sexual-health/About-HIV/How-common-is-HIV_qm_)
• HIV is largely linked to sexual behaviour: high numbers of sexual partners and anal sex without a condom carry a higher risk than unprotected vaginal sex (which is one of the reasons why gay and bisexual men have high rates of HIV).
• People who have moved here from parts of the world where HIV is much more common are another affected group.
• HIV infection is also linked to injecting drug use – drug users who share injecting equipment are at a greater risk (which is the reason for high rates of infection in some countries).
HIV infection can be prevented, but it can also be lived with. We live in an inclusive society but in which people suffer prejudice and discrimination for all kinds of reasons. HIV infection has been a source of stigma for more than thirty years, and it’s time to stop this. It’s time to put the fear behind us and get on with creating a better society, better communities focus on mutual respect and sharing. This World Aids Day, remember: STOP the STIGMA: SPREAD the LOVE.
Alys Einion November 29th, 2016
Posted In: Uncategorized
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