Put a red ribbon on this World AIDS Day
Local residents can show their support for World AIDS Day on Monday 1 December 2014 by getting tested for HIV and by wearing a red ribbon - the universal symbol for HIV, uniting with people around the world in the fight against HIV.
There are around 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK – 25 per cent of those people are unaware they have the virus. The day also marks support for 34 million people worldwide living with HIV and for those 35 million people who have lost their battle against the disease.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) attacks the body's immune system and is contracted through infected bodily fluids, most commonly through sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles or syringes. A HIV test - a simple blood test or saliva test can provide essential diagnosis to reduce the risk of serious illness and to stop the spread of the condition.
Dr Marc Rowland, Chair of NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group said: "It's important to be in control of your sexual health and know how to protect yourself and others from HIV. If you may be at risk, HIV tests are available through your GP and local sexual health clinics, and results and advice are confidential.
"Many advances have been made in HIV treatment and getting tested early will provide more effective treatment against the virus, improving chances of a healthier and longer life."
Here are a few more facts about HIV in the UK:
Over 90 per cent of people with HIV were infected through sexual contact
You can now get tested for HIV using a saliva sample
HIV is not passed on through spitting, biting or sharing utensils
Only 1 per cent of babies born to HIV positive mothers have HIV
You can get the results of an HIV test in just 15-20 minutes
There is no vaccine and no cure for HIV
Are you HIV aware? Take the quiz now. For more information visit: http://www.worldaidsday.org