Leaders from around the UK have spoken out against HIV/AIDS stigma.
To mark World AIDS Day, Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron have released video messages in support.
Theresa May: “HIV stigma is an unacceptable stain on society”
Theresa said: “As Prime Minister, I’m proud to wear a red ribbon on World AIDS Day to show my support for people living with HIV in the UK and all across the world.
“I’m proud too, of the role that the UK has played in driving advances in the treatment and prevention of HIV, including of course through the brilliant care and support of our NHS, which makes such a difference.
“But for all the progress in treatment and prevention, public attitudes have not progressed as far or as fast… this stigma is an unacceptable stain on our society, and we have to wipe it out.”
Jeremy Corbyn: “Let’s stamp our HIV stigma once and for all”
Jeremy said: “World AIDS Day is a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come, but also how far we’ve still to go when it comes to our response to HIV in this country.
“While medical advances continue, social attitudes remain stuck in the past. HIV stigma is a daily reality and is experienced in situations where people should feel supported and valued: at work, in education, and when accessing services.
“Until we rid our society of HIV stigma, we will not succeed in our efforts to support people living with HIV to live well and prevent new HIV cases… let’s stamp our HIV stigma once and for all.”
Nicola Sturgeon: “HIV stigma is based on myth, ignorance, and misconceptions”
Nicola said: “The outlook for someone who is diagnosed with HIV now is very different to what it would have been 20 or 30 years ago. Advances in medicine mean that people who are diagnosed early can go on to live long and healthy lives.
“We know that it’s vital to challenge the stigma that surrounds HIV. This stigma is based on myth, ignorance, and misconceptions. It makes life harder for this who have HIV, and makes those at risk less likely to get tested.”
Tim Farron: “HIV stigma is something we must absolutely challenge”
Tim said: “World AIDS Day is an opportunity for us to stand alongside all those people living with HIV and AIDS, and all their family members and loved ones, to say that the stigma around HIV is something we must absolutely challenge.
“Around the world, HIV and AIDS are hugely problematic, particularly in large areas of Africa. We must stand alongside those communities too, to fight against the tragic disease which takes so many lives every year.”