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.

"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."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

01 December 2015
10% Rise In Number Of NI People Living With HIV
The number of people living with HIV in Northern has increased by 10%, according to new figures. 809 people were diagnosed with HIV last year compared to 783 in 2013. The 'HIV surveillance in Northern Ireland 2015' report published by the Public Health Agency (PHA) also shows 94 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in Northern Ireland in 2014.
01 December 2010
Upward Trend In AIDS Infections
AIDS and related sexually transmitted infections continue to increase in Northern Ireland. Following a similar trend to that seen elsewhere in the UK and other parts of Europe - the annual number of 'new episodes' of HIV has generally increased since 2001 with the highest ever annual total - of 92 - occurring in 2008.
01 December 2011
Infections Rise As World Aids Day Marked
World Aids day today has been marked by news locally that the number of new cases of HIV in Northern Ireland has risen by 20% in the last year.
01 December 2009
HIV Cases Rising Across Ireland
The often deadly Aids infection knowns no geographical and political boundaries as the number of new cases of HIV - which leads to Aids - in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic are rocketing.
01 December 2016
103 New HIV Cases Diagnosed In NI In 2015
Although HIV prevalence in Northern Ireland remains lower than in the other UK countries, the percentage increase in annual new diagnoses in NI between 2005 and 2015 is highest of the UK countries, according to the Public Health Agency (PHA).