Put a red ribbon on this World AIDS Day
Local residents can show their support for World AIDS Day on Monday 1 December 2014 by getting tested for HIV and by wearing a red ribbon - the universal symbol for HIV, uniting with people around the world in the fight against HIV.
There are around 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK – 25 per cent of those people are unaware they have the virus. The day also marks support for 34 million people worldwide living with HIV and for those 35 million people who have lost their battle against the disease.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) attacks the body's immune system and is contracted through infected bodily fluids, most commonly through sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles or syringes. A HIV test - a simple blood test or saliva test can provide essential diagnosis to reduce the risk of serious illness and to stop the spread of the condition.
In Lambeth we have the highest HIV prevalence rate in the UK, as well as large gay male and Black African populations. The number of new HIV infections is still rising. One in five people in London who have HIV do not know they are infected, and most new infections come from them. Lambeth funds a range of organisations to work around HIV prevention and support sexual health.
Locally, HIV tests are provided at services including:
- As a registered patient at your GP practice
- Community sexual health clinics - Vauxhall Riverside, Streatham Hill, Clapham Manor in Lambeth
- Walk-in clinics at Crown Dale, Iveagh Surgery and Clapham Family practices in Lambeth
- Lloyd and Burrell St Clinics (at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital)
- Camberwell Sexual Health Centre (at King's Hospital).
Local GP Adrian McLachlan said: “It’s important to be in control of your sexual health and know how to protect yourself and others from HIV. Condoms, used properly, are still the best protection against HIV. If you may be at risk, HIV tests are available through your GP and local sexual health clinics, and results and advice are confidential.
He added: “Many advances have been made in HIV treatment, however there is still no cure or vaccine. An early diagnosis will provide more effective treatment against the virus, improving chances of a healthier and longer life.”
Here are a few more facts about HIV in the UK:
- Over 90 per cent of people with HIV were infected through sexual contact
- You can now get tested for HIV using a saliva sample
- HIV is not passed on through spitting, biting or sharing utensils
- Only 1 per cent of babies born to HIV positive mothers have HIV
- You can get the results of an HIV test in just 15-20 minutes
- There is no vaccine and no cure for HIV
Are you HIV aware? Take the quiz now. You can find out more about your local HIV services and testing at http://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/our-services/sexual-health/sexual-health/hiv/hiv.aspx
For more information visit: http://www.worldaidsday.org