December 1st is a day to reflect, remember and learn.
Since the first cases of HIV were reported more than 35 years ago, 78 million people have become infected with HIV and 35 million have died from AIDS-related illnesses. We're currently in the midst of dealing with a new virus, unknown to us only a year ago. But if there’s one thing we can learn from the current Coronavirus pandemic, it's that we are all connected. We have a shared responsibility to protect ourselves and others in any way we can.
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is 'Global solidarity, shared responsibility'. It offers us an opportunity to reflect and remember the many lives that have been lost, but also to acknowledge that some communities have been disproportionately affected more than others. This is true of COVID-19 as well as HIV/AIDS.
A very recent report by the HIV Policy Lab found that: "No country in the world has fully aligned its laws and policies with the best HIV science and core international recommendations." Until this happens, the possibility of a truly global response will be undermined and far too many people around the world will continue to face barriers to HIV prevention, testing and treatment.
We might be able to see an end to the Coronavirus pandemic, but there's still much to be done to eradicate HIV.
So, what can we do as individuals?
Know your status
Get tested, protect yourself and your partner(s). Being tested for HIV is quick and easy, and thanks to our wonderful NHS, it's completely free.
Knowledge is a powerful tool. Read up about the most recent developments in HIV science and educate friends who really need to know.
The science is very clear, if a person with HIV takes medication to suppress their viral load to undetectable levels, they cannot transmit the virus to anyone else.
Undetectable = Untransmittable. Read more about the U=U campaign here.
Vote for effective policy change
Get to know your local MP and their views on HIV policy. If they're not progressive enough, get in touch to let them know your views. If they're not willing to change, you have the power to vote them out at the next election.
Raise money for HIV charities
Run a half marathon or have a bake sale. There are many ways to fundraise and a lot of charities doing important work, including Terrence Higgins Trust, National AIDS Trust, Positive East, just to name a few in the UK.
We are continually assessing our protocols to ensure your safety and ensure we are up to date with the latest guidelines to be able to treat you in person, but if you prefer an online consultation, we offer Video Call Appointments too.
Call us on 0203 893 5100 or book an appointment online.