New campaign begins to raise HIV awareness

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With almost 6,000 people living with HIV in Scotland, Waverley Care is providing S3-S6 pupils in the Borders with a resource pack to help them understand HIV.

Funded by the Scottish Government, the new campaign seeks to raise awareness of HIV, and stamp out the stigma and discrimination that surrounds the condition.

Grant Sugden, Waverley Care’s director, said “Our message is simple - let’s listen to those living with HIV. There’s a lot of confusion and misconception about HIV, and we hope that this campaign and the resources given to students and teachers in Scottish Borders will help dispel some of the myths and generate a better understanding of HIV overall.

“The reality is that HIV stigma fuels people’s fear to test, which in turn leads to new infections as people are unaware of their HIV status.

“It’s been a long time since HIV dominated the headlines in the 1980s and early 90s, and so much has changed since then. People living with HIV in Scotland can now live well with a near normal life expectancy, especially if diagnosed early. Sadly, however, the general public’s lack of knowledge and information means that HIV stigma is still a huge issue.

“Our goal is to tackle the stigma and discrimination that surrounds HIV head on.”