Nick Clegg: 30 years since the first HIV cases, too many myths still persist

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

In his annual message for Sunday’s World AIDS Day, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says it’s “vital” to get people testing in order to reduce undiagnosed rates of HIV.

It’s over 30 years since the first cases of HIV were officially diagnosed in this country. During that time, huge strides have been made in treatment and prevention – yet many myths still persist.

That’s a problem. Because it creates stigma, leads to discrimination and means some people don’t get tested early enough to receive effective treatment and prevent the infection of others.

Reducing undiagnosed HIV by getting people tested is essential to successfully fighting HIV. Anyone who has been at risk should test – nothing should stand in their way.

That’s why this World AIDS Day, it’s important that all of us – government, families, workplaces, schools, colleges – do what we can to tell people the facts about HIV:

1) If diagnosed and treated in time, people with HIV can live just as long as people without it
2) There is no job that someone can’t do just because they have HIV
3) Effective treatment can stop HIV being passed on to others
4) With the right treatment, men and women living with HIV can become parents without passing it on to their baby
5) People living with HIV still face stigma and discrimination

Early diagnosis and treatment are key here. So please visit HIV Aware and THT to find out more about HIV. With over 35 million people living with HIV and AIDS around the world, we can all make a difference.

The UK has already dedicated £1 billion to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria: some of which will help 700,000 people living with HIV to get lifesaving anti-viral therapy. And we’re committed to work towards zero new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths, and to help eradicate the stigma and discrimination that still surrounds this disease.

If together we can educate more people about HIV, we can literally save lives. That’s why I’ll be wearing my red ribbon on World AIDS Day – to show my support in the fight against this disease, and to stand in solidarity with those living with HIV and AIDS. I hope you will too.

Nick Clegg is Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Liberal Democrats