World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day takes place on Tuesday, 1 December 2015. Current estimates by Public Health England suggest there are almost 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK with one in four of them remaining undiagnosed, which not only puts their own health at serious risk but also means it is far easier for them to pass on the virus unknowingly. Over 40% of HIV cases are diagnosed late. This campaign focuses on helping people at a heightened risk of HIV, to stop this epidemic in its tracks by:
Scientists and public health bodies agree that this combination of measures would drastically reduce undiagnosed HIV, long recognised as a key factor driving the epidemic. A short video clip at www.StartsWithMe.org.uk explains how modern drug treatments can reduce the level of virus in the body to an undetectable level, meaning someone with HIV who has tested and is on treatment is far less likely to pass the virus on than someone who remains undiagnosed.
- Testing for HIV at least once every twelve months, and more frequently if you have exposed yourself to risk – for example, if you have had sex without a condom with someone whose HIV status you do not know, or if you have shared injecting needles or drug equipment.
- Taking the medication you need to stay fit and well, if you have been diagnosed with HIV
- Protecting yourself during sex by using condoms and finding other ways to avoid risk
- Participating in community action by finding a way to support the campaign and spread the word to your friends and contacts
Gay men and African communities are invited to sign up to It Starts With Me by visiting www.StartsWithMe.org.uk. From the website, they can assess their sex life to find out when they should have their next HIV test, find the nearest place to take a test and order a free HIV home sampling kit by post. People will also be encouraged to champion the campaign by sharing Facebook posts, tweeting stories and spreading the word among their local communities.
Please show your support by wearing a Red Ribbon, the international symbol of solidarity and support for people living with HIV. Wearing a red ribbon is a simple and powerful way to challenge the stigma and prejudice surrounding HIV and AIDS.
Confidential services to support individuals with HIV related needs (testing, diagnosis and support) are also available:
and testing is also available locally at our Integrated Sexual Health Service:
Body Positive Cheshire and North Wales have organised an event in Chester City Centre on Tuesday, 1 December. The event will be held at the Cross from 10am until 3.30pm. There will be a gazebo and a range of organisations promoting World AIDS day and raising awareness. These include: Turning Point, P3 and The Recovery Choir.
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