What is World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day takes place on 1 December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

Why is World AIDS Day Important?

Over 105,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally, there are an estimated 38 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS-related illnesses, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, each year in the UK over 4,139 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.

World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

National AIDS Trust

More about World AIDS Day

HIV transmission and prevention

HIV stigma can affect the emotional wellbeing and mental health of people living with HIV, and it can lead to feelings of shame, fear of disclosure, despair, and isolation. These feelings can keep people from getting tested and treated for HIV.

There are many myths that surround HIV, including how you can get HIV. HIV lives in the blood and in some body fluids. There is no risk of HIV being passed on by shaking hands, using a toilet, kissing, or sharing cups or plates.

For facts about HIV, visit: Transmission and prevention | aidsmap

Get tested

Getting tested is the only way to find out if you have HIV. If you are living with HIV, starting treatment early means you can live a full, healthy and productive life.

Free and confidential HIV tests are available from NHS services Over the Rainbow at Sexual Health Dorset, or online for self-testing at home.

Call us at Over The Rainbow

For more information or support call 0300 303 1948 to speak to a sexual health adviser.

Order online for self-testing at home

You can order a free kit to get tested for HIV in Dorset. Free, discreet, and confidential service. Visit www.sh24.org.uk