Thursday, December 2, 2010

Brody's Notes... British Prime Minister Calls On Media & Faith Groups End Stigma On HIV & AIDS

UK Prime Minister David Cameron
By Brody Levesque (Washington DC) DEC 2 | “And the sad reality is that HIV stigma and discrimination are still an issue for many people. One in three people with the virus say they have experienced discrimination because of their HIV status. People with HIV report facing discrimination at work, at school, and even in healthcare settings – this is unfair, and unacceptable.” This statement was released by UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, (MP-South Yorkshire) In conjunction with a video taped message from the UK's Prime Minister David Cameron in observance of World Aids Day yesterday.
In his video for message for World AIDS Day, Prime Minister Cameron called on media organisations and faith groups to help tackle the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.
He said:
“We have made a lot of progress in fighting HIV and AIDS so far and I believe that by working together, we can help reduce the stigma, reduce the number of new infections and enable those living with HIV to lead full productive and happy lives. He added: “tackling the stigma that comes with HIV and Aids is not just a job for government alone. It means those in the media sending out responsible messages, it means role models and well-known figures lending their support to the cause, it means community groups and faith groups doing their bit to spread the message about prevention and testing in the local area.”
In a written statement released by his office at Number 10 Downing Street last week, Mr. Cameron called on the gay community to tackle the rates of HIV infection and diagnosis:
“One area where progress has not been good enough is infection rates. Over the last ten years, they have actually increased,” he wrote. “You need to support each other in avoiding the virus. You still need to practice safe sex. You need to test and to know your HIV status,” he wrote. ” And as a society we need to continue to fight prejudice and stigma, especially as they can be a barrier to testing and treatment.

Mr. Cameron also pointed out in the video the collaborations that Her Majesty's Government is making with the Terrence Higgins Trust and the African Health Network to target at those most at risk of HIV and AIDS. He stated that 6,500 people in the UK were diagnosed with HIV in the past year.