Today (1st December), the Council is joining people across the globe to raise awareness, debunk social stigmas and challenge misconceptions about HIV & AIDS as part of World AIDS Day.

This year, the campaign led by the National AIDS trust is focussing on the theme of ‘Lets end it’. The campaign follows a recent report by Public Health England which showed that new diagnoses of HIV in gay and bisexual men have fallen in the UK for the first time since the beginning of the UK epidemic.

Despite this, the National AIDS trust are stressing that the fight is not just against the virus itself, but also against the stigma and discrimination faced by those who have been diagnosed with HIV.

“For the more than 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK, ignorance and discrimination can still limit opportunities, preventing them from living full and happy lives. HIV means you are more likely to live in poverty, and more likely to have poor mental health.”

Councillor Martin Repton, Cabinet Member for Integrated Health and Care commented:

“Even with our advances in medical technology, people still have fears, prejudices and negative attitudes – which can lead to discrimination against people who have been diagnosed with AIDS.”

Since 2005 its been illegal in the UK to discriminate against people with HIV in areas such as healthcare, employment and in general.

In many parts of the world, people living with HIV/AIDS continue to be shunned and prohibited from using public facilities, getting jobs or medical treatment.

Councillor Repton added:

“This campaign is also an opportunity to educate the wider community and make people realise that HIV no longer carries a death sentence.”