Date of release: 1st December 2016
To mark World AIDS Day 2016 The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust are encouraging people to take the time to better understand the facts about HIV to help reduce stigma associated with the disease.
Thursday 1st December is World AIDS Day - a day for people across the world to unite in support of the fight against HIV; a day to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how far we’ve still got to go.
Dr Radhika McCathie, Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine, for The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said “There are still many myths about HIV and AIDS and unfortunately this has made it hard to reduce the stigma of HIV. Taking the time to understand the virus is the best way of combating the discrimination that is still faced by many people living with HIV.”
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and weakens your ability to fight infections and other diseases.
Important facts that everyone should know about HIV:
- HIV can be passed on by having sex without a condom and by sharing needles but it is NOT passed on through spitting, insect bites, kissing, hugging or sharing cutlery.
- Treatment can’t cure HIV, but it can help people infected with HIV live longer, healthier lives, if they are diagnosed and treated in time.
- HIV medicines can also reduce the risk of transmission of HIV.
Dr McCathie added "Testing for HIV is quick and easy and really does help save lives by giving patients diagnosed with HIV the chance to receive effective treatment early. A combination of condom use, regular testing and HIV treatment is the key to winning the fight against HIV.”
Testing is simple. Anyone who would like to take a HIV test, or has a general concern about their sexual health, should contact Embrace Sexual Health Service on 01902 695000 or Terrence Higgins Trust (Wolverhampton) on 01902 711 818 for free, friendly and confidential advice.
Alternatively people can order a free postal HIV test at www.startswithme.org.uk.
Daini Flower, HIV Clinical Nurse Specialist for The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said “Being diagnosed with HIV today means something very different than it did a few years ago. HIV is no longer a death sentence. Although there is no cure for HIV, modern treatments are now very effective and this, along with improved support offered to patients, allows people living with HIV in Wolverhampton to live long and healthy lives.”
Another simple way that people can show support in the fight against HIV and AIDS is to wear a red ribbon on World AIDS Day or an item of red clothing. The red ribbon is an internationally recognised way to show support and solidarity to the millions of people living with HIV.
Find out more about HIV symptoms, testing and treatment, as well as further resources of information and support visit www.nhs.uk.