WORLD AIDS DAY celebrated DEC 1 in UK!

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world-aids-day1 December 2013 is World AIDS Day and is the day that promotes talking about HIV and attempts to spread information about the disease. By talking about HIV it is hoped that the secrecy surrounding it is eradicated.   Greater understanding about HIV and AIDS means less prejudice and better prevention.

HIV is a disease that attacks the body’s immune system and affects the ability to fight infection and disease.   AIDS develops when the immune system can no longer fight infections that can normally be combated.

There are several misconceptions that tend to surround HIV. For example that only gay men contract the disease.  While more than 34,000 gay men live with HIV in Britain, many are heterosexuals – one third being women.

What about the myth that there are no symptoms of the disease?  This is true for some people.  But others may develop symptoms that include a rash, fever or a very sore throat.

HIV is a sexually transmitted disease but can also be passed on through sharing of equipment for injecting drugs.  While there is no cure for the disease, treatments can help sufferers live active lifestyles, albeit with side effects.

World AIDS Day promotes safe sexual practices and discourages sharing injecting equipment for drugs. While spreading information about HIV and AIDS, events on 1 December are aimed at reducing stigma for those living with HIV.

I wear my red ribbon to symbolise my support for the pro-active attempts to tackle spread of the disease and contribute to reducing discrimination.

If you do one thing on World AIDS Day, learn the facts about HIV and AIDS, help educate friends and family and debunk the myths.   With 80,000 people in the UK living with HIV every day, and discrimination the biggest problem among non-sufferers, more than ever it is vital that we raise awareness.

HIV facts

HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus which attacks the body’s immune system — the body’s defence against diseases.

HIV can be passed on through infected bodily fluids, most commonly via sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment.

There are now more people than ever living with HIV in the UK — around 100,000 — with a quarter of those people are unaware they have the virus.

Here are a few more facts about HIV in the UK:

  • Over 90% of people with HIV were infected through sexual contact
  • You can now get tested for HIV using a saliva sample
  • HIV is not passed on through spitting, biting or sharing utensils
  • Only 1% of babies born to HIV positive mothers have HIV
  • You can get the results of an HIV test in just 15-20 minutes
  • There is no vaccine and no cure for HIV

Have any of these facts come as a surprise?

There is still loads more you can learn about HIV in the UK by visiting HIVaware — our fun, interactive new website which provides all the information everyone should know about HIV. HIVaware gives you facts and stats on HIV, busts common myths and answers your frequently asked questions.

Take your first step to Acting Aware by visiting HIVaware today.

 

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