World AIDS Day 2023
This World AIDS Day, like all other before will see our team at Sexual Health Wirral stand united with the world to show our support for World AIDS Day on 1 December.
We promote HIV testing, awareness and education all year around, but World Aids Day gives us a day to focus on the importance of destigmatising HIV, engage with our patients and colleagues to promote the ongoing work and effective treatments that are making a difference to people’s lives and remember those who have sadly lost their lives to AIDS.
If you come into service over the next few weeks you will see our team proudly displaying our red ribbons and encouraging others to do so too. Wearing our red ribbons together:
- shows how we stand as one to help reduce stigma and discrimination of HIV and AIDS.
- helps increase visibility and shows our support of the ongoing life changing work.
- unites us in remembering the millions lost to the epidemic and in solidarity with everyone living with HIV today.
- increases visibility and starts conversations with our colleagues in the Trust, our friends and our families. This means we can all help educate.
We are super excited to also be lighting up our Sexual Health Wirral Hub clinic building at St Catherine’s Health Centre clinic building RED on Friday 1 December 2023 as part of a great campaign led by our colleagues at Sahir House.
World AIDS Day began in 1988, when AIDS and HIV was viewed very differently than today. It is 40 years since the first reported cases of HIV-related illnesses and deaths and we’ve come a long way since the times when being diagnosed with HIV was seen as a death sentence.
Now early diagnosis of HIV can often mean early interventions and treatments that help monitor and manage the HIV virus , reducing the risk of HIV developing into AIDS. Here we are in 2023 with vast and easy access to free testing, effective treatments and management, and a range of prevention options. HIV is now generally considered a long term manageable condition. This means you are unlikely to become ill or experience a lifetime of ill health. But getting tested to know your HIV status is essential.
98% of people living with HIV in the UK are on effective treatment and 97% can’t pass the virus on.
Helping to educate and share knowledge
Have you heard of U=U ?
U = U stands for Undetectable = Untransmittable. In easy terms , this means that when a person is living with HIV and is on effective treatment, it lowers the level of HIV (the viral load) in the blood. When the levels are extremely low it is referred to as an undetectable viral load which means HIV cannot be passed on to sexual partners.
PrEP is another way to prevent HIV transmission, for HIV-negative people who may not know the HIV status of their sexual partner(s) or whose sexual partner(s) is not undetectable. PrEP is a drug taken by HIV-negative people before and after sex that reduces the risk of getting HIV. Read more about PrEP here PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) | Terrence Higgins Trust (tht.org.uk)
Sexual Health Wirral can provide PrEP, see more information about our Wirral service.
Today an estimated 105,200 people live with HIV in the UK and sadly stigma and ignorance still exists. A recent research from the National Aids Trust found:
- 63% of the public asked do not remember seeing or hearing about HIV in the past six months.
- Only a third said of the people approached said they would have sympathy for people living with HIV regardless of how they acquired it.
- Only 16% knew if someone is on effective treatment, they can’t pass HIV on and can expect to live a long and healthy life.
This a powerful reminder of the importance to encourage people to get talking, educate others and help destigmatise HIV and Aids.
Now is the time to Get Tested
Getting tested is the only way to know your HIV status. A HIV status is
= Negative, = Positive, or = Untested. Which are you?
We encourage everybody to get tested as early detection and treatment can mean living a full healthy live. With testing options so easy accessible and free , we want everybody to ‘know their status’.
Our clinics offer confidential HIV testing by appointment, but the easiest way to test yourself is by ordering an online postal kit. This means you can do the test yourself from home and have your results texted back to you about 10-14 days later. The kits are discreet and easy to use.
Find more information about our free test kits, what they look like and how you use them here Free Postal Test Kits - Sexual Health Wirral