Saturday , 28 May 2022

Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland to fight HIV stigma and prejudice

Nicola Sturgeon's World AIDS Day message
Nicola Sturgeon’s World AIDS Day message

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland stands in solidarity with people living with HIV and against stigma and prejudice.

Sturgeon recorded a YouTube video message for World AIDS Day 2015, especially focused on challenging misconceptions and prejudice regarding HIV.

In the message she said: “There has been real progress around HIV in the past 30 years – for example advances in medication mean that people with HIV now have a normal life span.

“However, many challenges do remain – and a key priority in Scotland is to make sure anyone who thinks they might be at risk of HIV asks for a test.

“That’s crucial to curbing the spread of the virus, and it enables people to get the treatment they need to live life to the full.”

She added: “We also need to do more to address the myths, the misconceptions and the stigma, which is sometimes attached to HIV.

“That’s a major focus of this year’s World AIDS Day, and it’s one reason why the World AIDS Day website contains important facts about AIDS, and is a good way of getting the information you might need to challenge those misconceptions.

“In Scotland, all of the leaders of the major political parties will wear a red ribbons to mark World AIDS Day, and encourage all of you to join us.

“It’s a simple but powerful way of sending an important message: a message of remembrance for those who have died of AIDS, a message of solidarity to those who live with HIV, and of our sheer determination to correct myths, tackle misconceptions and challenge stigma.”

Sturgeon also joined all of Scotland’s other political leaders, standing in solidarity with people living with HIV, challenging stigma and prejudice and calling for improved detection.

She joined Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and Green co-convener Patrick Harvie standing side-by-side at the steps to the Scottish Parliament, with HIV Scotland’s CEO, George Valiotis, wearing red ribbons to mark World Aids Day.

Nearly 5,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Scotland but it is estimated that one in four people with HIV do not realise carry the virus.

There were 374 new diagnoses of HIV in 2014, with 40% of those diagnosed after the point when treatment should have begun.

Valiotis said: “It is inspiring to see all the leaders of Scotland’s political parties standing united to mark World Aids Day. Their unity symbolises that everyone has a role in addressing HIV.

“There are many misunderstandings that continue to fuel the stigma that hinders people living a dignified life with HIV, and discourages people from getting tested and learning the facts about HIV.

The Scottish Parliament also passed a motion today on World AIDS Day, put forward by Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon, which received cross party support.


About Dan Littauer

Dan Littauer is a journalist who specializes in LGBTI current affairs, travel writing, feature writing and investigative journalism. He is a correspondent for LGBTQ Nation, ManAboutWorld, and previously worked for Gay Star News, PinkNews, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Gay Middle East, Lonely Planet as well as contributing occasionally to the BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN and The Guardian. He also had an extensive career outside journalism, which included teaching psychoanalysis and social science, and consultancy work for the travel market. When he is not busy writing, he can be spotted rambling around the stunning Scottish landscape, where he lives, spending time at home with his cat.

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