World AIDS Day is an annual event held on 1 December. It is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics.
This World AIDS Day, UNAIDS is highlighting the urgent need to end the inequalities that drive AIDS and other pandemics around the world. Without bold action against inequalities, the world risks missing the target to end HIV transmission by 2030, as well as a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and a spiralling social and economic crisis. Economic, social, cultural, and legal inequalities must be ended as a matter of urgency if we are to end HIV transmissions and HIV stigma by 2030.
Although there is a perception that a time of crisis is not the right time to prioritise tackling underlying social injustices, it is clear that without doing so the crisis cannot be overcome.
AIDS- “Don’t die of ignorance”, Tombstones, “Gay Virus”, “AIDS is the wrath of God”, for many, are the first things that still come to mind when we talk about HIV. These campaigns, adverts and rhetoric were all too common in the 80’s and 90’s and have probably been the most effective marketing campaigns this country has seen.
It’s 40 years since the first diagnosed case of HIV and although we have seen incredible medical advancements, social attitudes still very much remain in the past. We live in Space Age times with some Stone Age minds. Stigma and discrimination are the biggest challenges people living with HIV still face. One in three people living with HIV have faced discrimination. Stigma can have a huge impact on people’s lives. It can prevent people from getting tested and for people living with HIV it can prevent them from taking their life-saving medication, lose family and relationships, lose jobs, be put last on surgery and other medical appointment lists, and prevent them from feeling connected in their local community. These are among the many reasons people living with HIV in the UK are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression.
It is a very exciting time for work ending HIV in Bristol. As well as being a part of the Fast Track Cities Initiative, a global movement bringing city partners and the public together to accelerate our work towards ending HIV, we also have two ground breaking projects happening. Common Ambition Bristol is a major three-year community empowered project led by Brigstowe and African Voices Forum working with African and Caribbean heritage communities in Bristol to reduce HIV diagnosis, stigma and generally improve sexual health. We also have Hearts and Minds, a collaborative community project finding new ways to reduce HIV related stigma in healthcare. This is being facilitated by Catherine Dodds, a long standing HIV researcher from University of Bristol and Rising Arts Agency.
Did you know?
- U=U. Undetectable=Untransmittable. This means people living with HIV on effective treatment cannot pass the virus onto their sexual partners.
- Babies without HIV can be born to parents with HIV.
- One third of people living with HIV in the UK are women.
- The numbers of people being diagnosed with HIV through heterosexual sex is the same as the number being diagnosed through men having sex with men.
- You cannot acquire HIV through saliva or sharing cutlery, toothbrushes and towels.
In 2021, these messages and information is what needs to be shared.
Show your support
There are many things you can do this World AIDS Day to show your support.
- Attend Bristol’s World Aids Day vigil on Wednesday 1 December at 6.30pm.
- Wear a Red Ribbon and wear it with pride!
- Donate £10 to Brigstowe so they can continue their vital work – text HIV to 70085
- If you are passing Bristol Temple Meads, Ashton Gate Stadium, or City Hall on 1 December then take a picture of the buildings illuminated red and share on social media tagging Brigstowe
For more information on the work Brigstowe do and the support they provide, please visit www.brigstowe.org