Saturday November 17th sees NHS Tayside return to Dens Park as part of the ongoing Community Initiative. Last season saw the team from FAST, helping to raise awareness for the importance of prompt treatment for sufferers of a stroke, this season we welcome the arrival of Donna Thain and her team from the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Managed Care Network to promote the 25th World AIDS Day.
World AIDS Day (WAD) is observed on December 1 each year and is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and prevents the person from being able to fight off certain infections. Between 1981 and 2007, the AIDS virus killed more than 25 million people worldwide.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action. If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today, you can use this knowledge to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure you treat everyone living with HIV fairly, and with respect and understanding.
There are four main ways in which people can contract HIV. These are through unprotected sex, sharing needles, mother to baby infection and infected blood. HIV remains an issue for everyone and people should protect themselves by being aware and acting aware. This year NHS Tayside Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Managed Care Network are running a campaign to raise awareness of HIV, dispel some of the myths and reduce stigma.
NHS Tayside Consultant in Genito Urinary Medicine Dr Sarah Allstaff said, “HIV has not gone away. It is more common now in the UK than it has ever been and is increasingly affecting people who don’t have any of the traditional risk factors like drug use. The outlook for people living with HIV is excellent thanks to rapid advances in anti-viral medicines however people who have not been diagnosed are still at risk of some of the devastating complications of AIDS. Although we have come far in medical treatment for HIV unfortunately many HIV-positive people still live in fear of rejection and isolation. The responsibility for overcoming this stigma lies with every one of us. Wearing a red ribbon is a simple but influential way of challenging this and showing support.”
HIV affects more than 90,000 people in the UK with over 300 people across Tayside living with the disease.
For Community Director Jacqui Robertson, the return of NHS Tayside to Dens, albeit supporting a different cause, is still something that is close to the heart of a Community Nurse, "Working for the NHS I can appreciate the importance of health campaigns and raising awareness of AIDS is as important as any. An incredible amount of work goes into this and it's great to have the team along to talk about what they do in advance of World AIDS Day. It would be fantastic to see our fans wearing red ribbons in support."
The Society are delighted to have this opportunity to publicise World AIDS Day ahead of the event, and would hope that Dundee fans can take the time to get to know more about not only the event, but ways to protect themselves from HIV. The Society would also like to thank Donna and her team for making time in the lead up to this 25th World AIDS Day to come along to Dens Park on Saturday, and share some of their knowledge with Dundee Supporters.
For more information on WAD, or the work carried out in Tayside, please visit the websites of World AIDS Day, BBVNCM Tayside, Sexual Health Tayside or Men Only Tayside.