World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people across the world to unite in the fight against HIV and show support for people living with HIV, as well as remember those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
Around the world there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have HIV. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Over 101,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. People still face discrimination that can limit opportunities, preventing them from living full and happy lives. Nearly half of people who test positive for HIV are finding out very late, meaning the virus may have damaged their health permanently.
HIV means you are more likely to live in poverty, and more likely to have poor mental health. But it is possible to live a full life into old age with HIV with the modern treatments and support that is available.
We are winning the fight against HIV because the numbers of people being diagnosed are falling. There is still work to be done to address the stigma attached to HIV.
Today is a great day to take a stand against HIV ignorance and for a fully inclusive approach, which I fully support.