Artwork By Raj Kamal
As stated on the official World Aids Day website:
"World AIDS Day takes place on the 1st 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."
This year Scandals are donating £1 for every £30 or more spent online with us today and tomorrow to Terrence Higgins Trust. THT is a charity Scandals chooses to regularly support because we really appreciate the amazing work they do when it comes to not only raising awareness for prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS, but also reducing the stigma for those who are diagnosed.
As of 2017, an estimated 36.9 million people are living with HIV, and of those 25% don't know their status. The most important part of AIDS prevention is testing, the use of contraception, and medication. If you are part of a particularly high risk demographic, which includes: men who have sex with other men, sex workers, transwomen, or if you have a regular partner who is HIV+, then it is crucial that you undergo regular sexual health testing. In Liverpool we have lots of free, easy ways to get tested. And a simple google will help you find your local services.
For those who do receive a positive diagnosis, the most important thing to remember is that this no longer serves as a death sentence. Being HIV+ is incredibly manageable, and you should still be able to have a happy, healthy sex and love life. Check out this comic about PreP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), which is becoming more and more accessible in the UK. The comic also details the difference between HIV (the virus), and AIDS (the condition which can develop from HIV). This is an important difference to know and draw attention to as regularly taking medication known as antiretroviral therapy (ART) prevents HIV from becoming AIDS in most diagnosed cases.
ART can result in you having an undetectable viral load- which can mean that you don't pass on HIV to sexual partners. However, it doesn't prevent against other STIs, and if your partner is HIV negative you may both appreciate the peace of mind that comes with using condoms.
So remember: get tested, use contraception, and don't ever feel ashamed about disclosing your status to sexual partners. Everyone deserves amazing, consensual sex. And HIV should never get in the way of this.
If you want to support the destigmatisation of HIV and AIDS then help us donate to Terrence Higgins Trust by spending over £30 online in our store today and tomorrow.