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Tim calls on cumbrians to #factup about HIV on World AIDS day

November 29, 2013 2:33 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron is asking local residents to show support for people living with HIV, improve their understanding of the condition, and show their commitment to tackling HIV on Worlds AIDS Day, this Sunday 1 December.South Lakes MP Tim Farron is asking local residents to show support for people living with HIV, improve their understanding of the condition, and show their commitment to tackling HIV on Worlds AIDS Day, this Sunday 1 December.

New figures published as part of HIV testing week reveal there are now 150 people in Cumbria who are receiving treatment for the illness but it is estimated that a further 40 people remain undiagnosed.

Despite the growing number of people living with HIV (around 100,000 in the UK), and improved treatment, public knowledge and awareness about HIV hasn't kept pace and is actually declining. Only by educating people about the reality of what it is like to live with HIV can the stigma that many people living with the virus still face be reduced. Stigma also leads people to fear getting tested, which can have an impact on their health and increase the risk of HIV transmission.

Commenting, Tim said: "I am proud to wear a red ribbon to mark this year's World AIDS Day. We need to support the day however we can. With around 150 people in Cumbria living with HIV, and health professionals estimating that a further 40 remain undiagnosed we must do more to improve HIV prevention and testing.

"For people living with HIV in the UK one of the biggest challenges is still stigma, which is often the result of ignorance about HIV and unnecessary fear. We need to break down this stigma and we can only do that by working together. This World AIDS Day I am encouraging more people in Cumbria to better understand HIV by learning the five simple facts about living with HIV in the UK. "

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust added: "I am really pleased to see Tim using World AIDS Day to take a lead on this issue. Tackling HIV stigma, by encouraging more people to learn more about HIV, is important to improve the lives of people living with HIV, and to encouraging more people to get tested.

"Many people don't know what it is like to live with HIV and that if people test early and are on effective treatment they can live a normal lifespan and are much less likely to pass on HIV to others."

The Five Facts about HIV are:

  • If diagnosed and treated in time. People living with HIV live a normal lifespan.
  • There is no job, which someone can't do specifically because they have HIV
  • Treatment can mean that people living with HIV are no longer infectious.
  • Men and women living with HIV can become parents of a HIV-free baby.
  • People living with HIV still face stigma and discrimination.