Wear the red ribbon on World AIDS Day
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the National AIDS Trust (NAT) and tomorrow will mark the 25th World AIDS Day. The international annual campaign is about increasing awareness of the disease, celebrating historical breakthroughs in treatment and more importantly commemorating loved ones lost. This weekend NAT is urging all people to unite in the fight against HIV.
The significance of December 1
According to the Health Protection Agency, around 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK, while on a global scale the figure is estimated at 34 million. Despite scientific advances in HIV treatment, the deathly virus killed more than 25 million people worldwide between 1981 and 2007.
World AIDS Day reminds the public and government that HIV still has a long way to go. 1 December reminds those who have forgotten that there is still a vital need to raise funds, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education on HIV for the generations to come.
Charli Scouller from the National AIDS Trust said: “World AIDS Day is still important because more people than ever before are living with HIV in the UK and a quarter of them don’t realise they have the virus. Stigma and discrimination is still a problem and people lack awareness and knowledge of HIV.
“This is why we need days like World AIDS Day where we put the spotlight on the problem – however, to make a real difference we need to raise awareness more than just one day a year.
“HIV has fallen off the public, political and media agenda and people are now less informed than they were ten years ago. We need to increase knowledge and awareness and reduce stigma so people can talk openly about HIV and know when to get tested if they’ve put themselves at risk,” she added.
Angelina Namiba, an activist who is living with HIV, has over 13 years of experience of working in the HIV sector.
She has worked on initiatives ranging from providing one-to-one support for people living with HIV, to promoting the involvement of women living with the virus in forming and informing local and national policy.
Having lived with HIV for more than a decade, Angelina is passionate about advocating for the sexual health and reproductive rights of women living with HIV.
She said: “With access to and careful use of treatment, people living with HIV can now live very long lives. We have a life expectancy similar to that of a HIV negative person which means people living with HIV can continue having healthy and fulfilling relationships, they can continue working or go back to school and they can have families if that’s what they choose to do.
“Sadly, stigma and prejudice around HIV is still a problem. I think it’s important to be open about HIV so we can raise awareness and tackle this problems, however I do worry about the impact this may have in the future, such as the implications for my daughter. This is one of the risks of being open about your HIV status.”
Angelina is grateful for organisations, like NAT, who support HIV awareness: “Thankfully we have many great organisations including Positively UK that support people living with HIV from initial diagnosis through to specialist support groups such as the ‘Pregnancy and Beyond’ support programme for pregnant women living with HIV. This support is vital in helping people living their lives fully, adjust to their diagnosis and stay healthy and happy.
“We need to continue doing even better work to ensure the future generations of people with HIV will have less and less to actually fight about,” she added.
Make a difference
This year’s World AIDS Day not only focuses on urging young people to get tested but it is also an opportunity for people of all ages to get involved and make a difference. The National AIDS Trust is encouraging everyone to go online and learn the facts about HIV. Awareness is vital in the international crackdown against the disease. You can take part online at Are you HIV aware? And share the knowledge via social media, or get involved in the conversation at #WAD2012 .
World AIDS Day is also an opportunity to raise money for the National AIDS Trust (NAT). Show your support on tomorrow by wearing the iconic red ribbon – the international symbol of HIV awareness.
National AIDS Trust Red Ribbons are also available to purchase via donation at HMV stores around the country. Single ribbons are also available at your local Virgin Active Health Club and stores nationwide! Sparkly red ribbon brooches can be purchased from the online NAT shop.
For the inspired, why not hold a bake sale and ‘Bake Aware’ or even distribute red ribbons.
Free Red Ribbon collection for fundraising can be ordered online at www.worldAIDSday.org.
For fundraising ideas and initiatives visit HIVaware or get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.orgTagged in: 1 december, AIDS, HIV, NAT, National Aids Trust, red ribbon, World aids day
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