Remembering those we’ve lost and a vow to carry on the fight through candelight vigils, education and ending the stigma.

Today is World AIDS Day, a day to honour the memories of those claimed by the epidemic, to support people living with HIV, and to renew pledge to prevention, treatment, and eventually a cure.

According to Public Health England, around 90,000 people live with the virus in the UK alone. AIDS has killed 35 million people since the start of the worldwide pandemic.

Despite years of high-profile campaigns to educate the public about HIV/Aids, a YouGov study shows that many people in Britain still believe damaging myths, such as it being possible to catch the virus from kissing.

Perceptions are still mirroring those seen in the 1980s, despite the medical progress that has been made in the fight against HIV over the last three decades.

Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We’ve come a long way since the AIDS crisis first emerged, when the nation was gripped by panic and fear.

“Thankfully, we now know far more about how HIV is and is not transmitted, and medical advances now mean HIV doesn’t have to stand in the way of living a long and healthy life.

“But it’s not over – while science has moved on, we can see today that inaccurate myths from the 1980s are still deeply entrenched in society, both in terms of how HIV is transmitted, and what it’s like to live with HIV.

“Misunderstanding of the virus can fuel stigma and cause immense distress for people coming to terms with an HIV diagnosis. Much more needs to be done to bring the British public up to date with what HIV means in 2016.“

Global efforts have begun today (1 Dec) to raise awareness about one of the most devastating diseases in human history, giving people the opportunity to unite in their support for those with HIV.

To find out how you can support World AIDS Day visit: www.worldaidsday.org

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