29/11/2018

SDLP Encourage Testing Ahead Of World AIDS Day

As Saturday 01 December marks World AIDS Day, politicians in Northern Ireland are encouraging those at risk to get tested, and promoting the red ribbon as a symbol of awareness for the condition.

It follows the recent figures which show 84 new cases of HIV, the virus that severely damages the immune system and causes AIDS, were diagnosed in Northern Ireland last year, with many of those in the later stages of the virus.

SDLP Health Spokesperson, Mark Durkan MLA, spoke out in encouragement of more testing, education and protection against the human immunodeficiency virus.

"The fight against HIV is one of the biggest challenges facing clinicians and in particular the LGBT community across the world," the Foyle MLA said.
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"HIV is treatable but it is vital people get tested early, so they can access highly effective treatment if needed. Considering the continued rise of the virus here, getting tested early is more important than ever- it is quick, simple and not something to be feared.

"Many local charities are doing invaluable work, raising awareness and educating people to remove the fear and stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. It is crucial that we support their continued efforts on this extremely important issue."

West Belfast MLA and Health Spokesperson for Sinn Fein Pat Sheehan called on people to wear a red ribbon in support of those living with the condition.

He said: "World AIDS Day is a day in which the world comes out in solidarity and support for those who are living with HIV and AIDS.

"Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people living with HIV and a recent report from the Public Health Agency showed that there are 1073 people in the north living with HIV.

"The Red Ribbon is the international symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness and is used to promote awareness and support of a worthy cause and to remind others of the need for their continued support for people living it."



(JG/MH)

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