First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s World AIDS Day Message
1 December 2016
The outlook for someone who is diagnosed with HIV now is very different from what it would have been 20 or 30 years ago. Advances in medicine mean that people who are diagnosed early can go on to live long and healthy lives. An early diagnosis not only helps the individual, it also helps to protect others from onward transmission, which is so crucial to curbing the spread of HIV.
That’s why a key priority for those here in Scotland is to ensure that anyone who thinks they might be at risk of HIV gets a test, and it’s why testing is free and confidential. But we know that it’s vital to challenge the stigma that surrounds HIV. This stigma is based on myth, ignorance and misconceptions. It makes life harder for those who have HIV, and it makes those at risk less likely to get tested.
As First Minister of Scotland, I am determined to challenge HIV stigma. On the 1st of December, I will be wearing this red ribbon to mark World AIDS Day. And I know millions of you will, too.
In doing so, we will be sending a message of respect to those we have lost through AIDS, and of solidarity to those who have lived with HIV. And we will also be demonstrating our support for the message of this year’s World AIDS Day that HIV stigma is not retro, it’s just wrong.