Almost 40 years ago today, (5th June 1981), the first case of HIV was reported in America. A virus that was reported to affect ‘active homosexuals.’
Lack of understanding and knowledge of this virus meant that those suffering and dying from the illness were stigmatised and denied the care, dignity and love they needed.
40 years on things have changed in what we know about HIV:
- We know people can live long and healthy lives with HIV.
- We know people living with HIV and take medication to control the virus cannot pass it on.
- We know conversations about how HIV is acquired allow individuals to recognise any possible exposure to the virus. This allows them to choose a prevention method right for them whether that is condoms or PrEP.
- We know that by accessing PEP within 72 hours after a possible exposure prevents a person testing positive for HIV.
- We know that testing regularly for HIV and being diagnosed early and accessing medication prevents damage to the immune system, further health problems and onward transmission.
Above all, we know that the fear of HIV and lack of knowledge around the virus reinforces stigma and prejudice. Stigma prevents people talking about the virus, stops people testing and being diagnosed. It also stops people living with HIV facing up to their diagnosis, accessing care and living full and authentic lives.
As we commit to no new transmissions of HIV by 2030 we want to stop the silence and fear around HIV. We owe it to the 30 million that have died from this virus.
If you want to reach out to us about HIV or your sexual health then you can do so by calling 0800 328 3508 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org