Prime Minister Theresa May’ s World AIDS Day Message 2016
As Prime Minister, I’m proud to wear a red ribbon on World AIDS Day to show my support for people living with HIV in the UK and all across the world. I’m proud, too, of the role that the UK has played in driving advances in the treatment and prevention of HIV, including, of course, through the brilliant care and support of our NHS, which makes such a difference in the lives of people living with HIV.
But for all the progress in treatment and prevention, public attitudes have not progressed as far or as fast. The latest UK HIV Stigma Index found that almost one in five respondents living with HIV in the UK have had suicidal thoughts in the past 12 months, while around half reported feeling such as shame, guilt, and low self-esteem in relation to their HIV status.
This stigma is an unacceptable staying on our society and we have to wipe it out. Stigma is not just profoundly wrong, it also prevents many of those affected from accessing the testing treatment and support that they need.
Today, around two in five people are diagnosed late after the point at which treatment should have begun – with a significant impact on their long-term prognosis. Tackling stigma is one of the ways (that) we can change this.
So, I’m proud to support this year’s campaign – HIV Stigma Is Not Retro, Just Wrong. I urge you to join me in taking a stand and leaving this stigma where it belongs – in the past.
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