I was having a conversation with a friend yesterday and after asked if he would mind me sharing the content on here to which he said that if it opens the eyes of other people to what was said then I should definitely share it. We were discussing the 21st century needs of HIV in the UK and Ireland when my friend said “but I thought we are winning the HIV/AIDS fight in western countries and death rates are low” to which I had to try and change his perception by saying the following..
In 2013, 400 people died of AIDS in the UK, for 1 person to die of this virus especially when we have life saving medication, available free of charge, is 1 to many. In most cases late diagnosis was the problem, so we reiterate to our followers to get tested regularly.
The second point that I had to make in contradiction to his thought, is to me, the strongest message that needs to resonate with people as we move into a new era in the fight against HIV. While people may survive the virus itself thanks to the amazing new medication we have, some people are still living in fear of stigma that has surrounded this condition since it emerged, people who think that their family and friends will view them different, perhaps disowning them and some people are at the receiving end of the most despicable acts of hate crime I have heard of solely due to their condition, which makes some feel lifeless.
The reason I wanted to share this is to appeal to people to look at the broader picture, along with the fact we have more than 25,000 people in the UK living with undiagnosed HIV, parts of society seem to ignore the stigma that still engulfs the condition, the affect that comes from this and the toll which it can take on some people. If even one person out there reads this and changes their outlook due to it then it is worth posting because the sooner we properly address this undue stigma displacing it from society while also addressing the issue of undiagnosed people, the sooner we can really say we are winning the fight against HIV.