Karl Love shares this message to Islanders on World Aids Day. Ed
Every year on 1st December, the international community unites to observe World AIDS Day. This is a day to remember those lost, to increase awareness and understanding of HIV, and to galvanise the response to the epidemic.
At the time of the launch of the first World AIDS Day in 1988, a person living with HIV had a very short life expectancy. But today, anti-retroviral treatment means that people living with HIV can survive and thrive into old age.
My partner and I first came to the Isle of Wight in 1992 where I was funded to work with young people through the Isle of Wight youth service to prevent HIV infection and raise the profile.
Remembering those lost
In 1994 I took on responsibility for working with gay and bisexual men and support people who were living with HIV and sadly at that time passing away from it.
Today fills me with emotion remembering those friends who I worked with who lost their lives to this dreadful virus.
Support for developing countries
I’m reminded that whilst things have improved in the western world through treatment there are many living in the developing world where they do not have the same opportunity to receive drug therapy and treatment.
We must strive to make treatment available to all across the world and I still maintain my position that practicing safer sex and not sharing needles helps reduced infections of all kinds including Hepatitis B and C.
Support is here
I urge you today to talk with those you love and care for about keeping safe.
I also say that we have on our our Island Sexual Health Service at St Mary’s Hospital (01983 534202) where you can go, in confidence for advice and treatment if you have any concerns about your sexual health.
You can also go online and request a Free Test Me HIV and Chlamydia testing kit.
Be happy, safe and enjoy life.