December 1st is WORLD AIDS DAY

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) affects more than 17,000 people in the UK. The figure worldwide is more than 33 million. There is no cure for it, but it is controllable, and with the right medication and precautions people can live with it for many years. Unfortunately that treatment is not always available. By the time the virus became known, in the early 1980s, many people had already developed AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), which is a range of fatal illnesses brought on by the failure of the immune system.

In many parts of the world, adequate treatment is still not available. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa, large numbers of young men and women are dying of AIDS, leaving orphaned children, devastating communities, and hampering the economic life of whole nations. It is estimated that over 25 million people have died of AIDS so far, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.

Here in the UK people living with HIV still have problems. Many feel unable to tell anyone about it. There are still men who have never told their families anything about their sex life, and are afraid to do so because for many people there is still a stigma about being gay.

Not that HIV is just a disease that affects gay men – heterosexual men and women can have it too. You can be prosecuted for infecting someone else. This makes people living with HIV feel they are already labelled as potential criminals. They are wary of forming relationships or, even worse, are afraid to tell a partner about their HIV status.

The theme for this 20th annual World AIDS Day is âEURoeUnderstanding through CommunicationâEUR. We need to challenge the conspiracy of silence, spread more accurate information, and give people the chance to talk. A tall order, maybe, but every little helps. At the very least, we can wear a red ribbon and show we care.

Support World AIDS Day

About chaplaincy

We are the Chaplaincy to the University of South Wales
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