Heath leaders have urged Derbyshire people to mark World AIDS Day on Sunday (1 December) by finding out about HIV to protect themselves and others.
The challenge was made this week by NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which said that understanding the virus was also the best way of combating the discrimination that still faced one in three people living with HIV.
The group also called on people to find out more about HIV and sexual health by attending a series of events organised by Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS) NHS Trust.
The CCG, which plans and buys healthcare for 525,000 patients, said there were five facts that everyone should know about living with HIV in the UK in the 21st Century:
People living with HIV have a normal life span if diagnosed and treated in time
There is no job that someone can’t do specifically because they have HIV
Treatment can mean that people living with HIV are no longer infectious – treatment can reduce infectiousness by 96 per cent
Men and women living with HIV can become parents of an HIV-free baby – less than one per cent of babies born to a HIV-positive mother are HIV positive themselves
People living with HIV still face stigma and discrimination.
Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG, said:
“HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It’s a virus that attacks the body’s immune system – the body’s defence against diseases.
“HIV can be passed on through infected bodily fluids, most commonly via sex without a condom, or by sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment.
“There are now more people than ever – around 100,000 – living with HIV in the UK, with around a quarter of those unaware they have the virus.
“More than 90 per cent of people with HIV were infected through sexual contact but, contrary to myth, HIV is not passed on through spitting, biting or sharing utensils.
“It’s now possible to get tested for HIV using a saliva sample, with test results often available in just 15 to 20 minutes. However, there is no vaccine or cure for HIV.”
Meanwhile, the Sexual Health Promotion Team at DCHS has organised a string of special events throughout Derbyshire:
The DCHS Red Ribbon Party, Friday 29 November 6:30pm - 9:30pm.
Free entry to the event at Donut Creative Arts Studio, Chesterfield:
Music, poetry, and a pub(lic health) quiz will be on offer for everything you need to know to stay safe and healthy. Contact Sarah Thomasin on 07795 318846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Westfield Stall, Friday 29 November 9am - 4:30pm.
A chance to receive up-to-date information around HIV.
United Reformed Church Event “I Wear a Red Ribbon” Saturday 30 November 12pm - 1pm.
World Aids Day Remembrance and Celebration Event at Derby United Reformed Church, Becketwell Lane at 12 noon. Mayor will be in attendance. Come and join in with singing and readings.
County Hall, Friday 29 November 9am – 12 noon.
The team will be raising awareness with red ribbons and be on hand to answer any questions and provide information.
“Strictly World Aids Day” Sunday 1 December 3pm - 7pm.
A 1940s/1950s style tea dance in the Members’ Room, Matlock County Hall. There will be live music from Rosie Brown & the Doilies and a dance instructor on hand. Tea and cakes and a licensed bar are also available.
Tickets cost adults £10, family £25, up to 13 years £5 and under 5s go free!
Contact 01629 531452 or 01332 204020 for details.
People can arrange an HIV test with DCHS by calling a confidential NHS line on 01246 235792 to book an appointment or speak to a specialist sexual health advisor. The appointment line is open Mon-Thurs 9am-8pm, Friday 9am-5.30pm and Saturday 1.30pm - 3.30pm.
For information on sexual health services including chlamydia screening and vasectomies, visit the Derbyshire Community Health Service sexual health and contraception service.
The CCG is urging people to raise funds for the National AIDS Trust (NAT) by organising a cake sale, party or sponsored event. For lots of great ideas, email email@example.com or visit www.worldaidsday.org.
NAT advises people with HIV on issues including benefits, employment and human rights. NAT is committed to ensuring that laws and policies affecting people with HIV are fair, and it raises awareness of the importance of HIV education in the UK today.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG represents 57 GP practices and is responsible for the healthcare of 525,000 people. It is one of four clinical commissioning groups in Derbyshire.
Charles Malkin, Communications Officer
Tel: 01332 868954/07825 274111