Features

World AIDS Day

Pinch punch, first of the month! The 1st of December isn’t just the official beginning of the countdown to Christmas, it’s also World AIDS Day.

Started in 1988 World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. It gives us the opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, demonstrate our support for those living with HIV and honouring those who have died from AIDS or HIV related causes.

Today in the UK alone over 100,000 people are living with HIV. Identified in 1984, over 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, it is undoubtably a pandemic that is still much misunderstood and stigmatised.

For those wishing to educate themselves – or just up their chances of winning at Scrabble – here’s a new word for you, ‘serophobia’meaning the fear or aversion to people living with HIV. Much is misunderstood about the condition, which is potentially dangerous as it means many people do not know how to protect themselves and others from HIV.

While there have been scientific advances made in HIV treatment, meaning many HIV+ people are living healthy lives, it’s worth educating yourself to stop myths spreading such as the idea that heterosexual people, particularly women, are not at risk. Two panellists on Loose Women recently took an HIV test live on air to show how quick and easy it is, as Dr. Christian Jessen said (albeit unfortunately) it really is “just a little prick.”

World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. To find out more, click here.