Seeing red without fear
A health and wellbeing provider will be encouraging local people to #SeeRed, wear their red ribbons with pride, and join the Terence Higgins Trust’s (THT) red-themed tea party, at the Healthy Living Centre in Aylesbury on World Aids Day – 1st December – from 1.30pm until 3.30pm.
THT works with the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust to provide bSHaW (Buckinghamshire Sexual Health and Wellbeing) services to people across the county. A team from Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust will also be attending the tea party to support THT in raising awareness of World Aids Day and the HIV testing and treatment services available to people locally.
At the event, red-themed tea, cake and fruit will be provided alongside an opportunity to make a donation to support people living with HIV. There will be the chance to hear a personal story from someone living with HIV, and a local student drama group from Berkshire College of Agriculture will also be performing a piece about HIV and stigma.
While there is no cure for HIV, medical advances, alongside early diagnosis, mean people living with HIV can have effective treatment, live long healthy lives and not pass on the virus.
Today, the UK is closer than ever to beating HIV, but attitudes towards HIV haven’t kept up with medical advances – stigma still acts as a major barrier to people getting tested and onto treatment, and fuels discrimination against people living with HIV.
So the trust is warning that we won’t beat HIV until we tackle the associated stigma – that’s why the charity has launched its #SeeRed theme for World AIDS Day.
Nigel French, HIV and Sexual Health Practitioner at Terrence Higgins Trust in Buckinghamshire, said: ‘On 1st December, people all over Buckinghamshire will wear a red ribbon with pride, without fear, shame or stigma. On World AIDS Day, the colour red represents solidarity, love, activism, and remembrance. So the more we see red, the more we can remove stigma and the sooner we will end the HIV epidemic.
‘We’re encouraging people to come along to our World AIDS Day fundraising tea party at the Healthy Living Centre in Aylesbury, and wear their red ribbons. We need everyone to join our movement, stay passionate, and keep fighting until HIV stigma is a thing of the past. With your help we can raise vital funds to tackle stigma, and support people living with HIV.’
Noel Brown, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement & Public Health, said: ‘World AIDS Day is about showing support for those who are living with HIV and remembering those who have lost their fight against the disease.’
‘It is also about ending stigma – people’s attitudes can still make life hard for those affected by HIV and AIDS. Please join us on 1st December and wear a red ribbon to show your support.’
What you need to know: People across Buckinghamshire can also take a free and confidential HIV test at any local bSHaW sexual health clinic. Testing at sexual health clinics is completely confidential and a patient’s GP would not be contacted without their permission. To find your nearest clinic, go to the service finder on : www.sexualhealthbucks.nhs.uk
HIV self-sampling test kits have proven really successful at reaching the most at risk. FREE HIV self-sampling kits are available to all Bucks residents between now and 8th January 2017. Visit www.freetesting.hiv
People all over the world will wear a red ribbon this World AIDS Day. Get your ribbon here: www.tht.org.uk/worldaidsday
To find your nearest clinic, go to the service finder on: www.sexualhealthbucks.nhs.uk