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35th World Aids Day

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Thursday 30 November 2023

Tomorrow (Friday 1st December 2023) marks the 35th World AIDS Day, with this year's theme being 'Remember and Commit'.

The first World AIDS Day took place in 1988, providing a platform to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Dr Nicola Brink, Lead HIV Clinician and Director of Public Health, said:

'Participating in World AIDS Day is important for the Bailiwick. Over the past 35 years, there has been significant progress in addressing HIV/AIDS. People living with HIV in the Bailiwick have benefitted from advances in medical research, increased access to treatment and prevention, and a broader understanding of the virus. We now manage HIV as a long-term health condition that is easily manageable with the appropriate treatment. People living with HIV and on treatment can therefore expect to live a normal lifespan.

'One of the most important ways of enabling people living with HIV to enjoy a healthy and happy life is to ensure access to effective treatment alongside all of us committing to tackling the stigma associated with living with HIV. So, we need to know our facts.'  

HIV - Know your facts:

  1. Undetectable = UntransmissibleHIV treatment effectively reduces the amount of the virus in the body to the point where it cannot be detected. This means that people who are on effective HIV treatment with an undetectable viral load cannot pass HIV on during sex. The science is clear. Undetectable = Untransmissible. U=U.
  2. The importance of early diagnosis: HIV infection has been transformed from a fatal to chronic life-long infection as a result of the introduction of effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the mid-1990s. Delayed HIV diagnosis is associated with an increased risk of AIDS and death. People diagnosed late have a tenfold increased risk of death within one year of HIV diagnosis compared to those diagnosed promptly. Late diagnosis also means that a person has remained unaware of their HIV status for many years, increasing the risk of onward transmission. Prompt HIV diagnosis therefore helps to prevent further HIV transmission events and provides earlier opportunities for partner notification and behaviour change counselling.

Dr Brink said:

'I believe that fear around HIV transmission can fuel HIV stigma, and that the U=U message is one of the most powerful ways in which HIV stigma will be defeated. I would therefore encourage everyone to consider the evidence and science around HIV transmission to help defeat the stigma surrounding HIV.'

Laura Brouard, Orchard Centre nurse, said :

'We are encouraging people to come forward and get tested. We have a free and confidential service available at the Orchard Centre and can be contacted by telephone 01481 227707, or via our social media sites. Early diagnosis of HIV saves lives and decreases the risk of transmission. Please do contact us and come for testing.'

Bailiwick Facts:

Currently there are 52 (20 females and 32 males) people living in the Bailiwick with HIV, all of whom are on treatment and most of whom are very healthy and leading productive and fulfilled lives thanks to advances in HIV care. The age range includes 27 people living with HIV under 50 years of age and 25 people 50 years and older. 

Information about the Orchard Centre:

The Orchard Centre is located within the Princess Elizabeth Hospital on level 2. Its opening times are:

Monday

8.30am-1pm and 2pm-7pm

Tuesday

8.30am-1pm and 2pm-7pm

Wednesday

8.30am-2pm (walk-in clinic available from midday-1.15pm)

Thursday

8.30am-6pm (walk-in clinic available from midday-1.15pm)

Friday

8.30am-6pm

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