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. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.
Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment and medications are now available to those at medium to high risk of contracting HIV to prevent onward transmission.
There are also laws to protect people living with HIV and much more is understood about the condition.
Despite this, in 2021 in England, 2,692 were diagnosed with HIV, and too many are unaware of how to protect themselves and others, while stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition. In the five years from 2017 to 2021 a total of 120 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in Teesside.
Of the 2,692 diagnosed in 2021 44% were diagnosed late!
Testing for HIV has never been more important as it is key to ending HIV transmissions.
The sooner people know their status, the quicker they can get on to effective treatment which will help them live long, healthy lives with HIV and means they cannot pass the virus on.
Mark Adams, Joint Director of Public Health for South Tees, said: “Despite the significant advances in the fight against harm from AIDS-related illness, there is still a lack of awareness of how people can protect themselves and others.
“We have an opportunity to fight the stigma and discrimination that remains an issue in reducing the potential - but only if we all play our part.
“I hope that World Aids Day will be a step on the road to changing attitudes and challenging stigma - which, combined with the advances in testing and treatment, will take us closer to our goal of zero transmissions and zero stigma by 2030.”
We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stop HIV in the UK by 2030 — if we all play our part. If we all work together, we can change attitudes and challenge stigma; we can promote HIV testing; we can provide vital services that empower people to thrive with HIV. We can be the generation to finally end new HIV transmissions.
Let's make it to zero transmissions and zero stigma by 2030.
To order an HIV test online visit https://www.thesexualhealthhub.co.uk/services-near-you/teesside or call the Tees sexual health service on 0300 330 1122 to book an appointment at the sexual health hub located in the Live Well Centre, Dundas Shopping Mall.
The Terence Higgins Trust will be holding an event on Friday afternoon (December 1) at Teesside University. The event will be open to students, staff and the public and will focus on:
- HIV today and where we are now.
- The pledge to help end new HIV transmissions by 2030.
- Remembering those loved and lost and community reflections.
- How HIV has affected different communities locally, nationally, and globally (remembering that Teesside University has a significant international cohort)