#WADirl launched by Irish Health Minister

The Irish Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD last week launched the first ever five-day national World AIDS Day campaign in Ireland. This campaign is developed by NGOs and statutory bodies across Ireland in partnership with the HSE Sexual Health & Crisis Pregnancy Programme.

The focus of the Irish campaign is Solidarity with all people living with HIV, both those who know they are living with HIV, and those who don’t. The campaign has been running since 27 November 2015 and will run until World AIDS Day on the 1 December 2015, and aims to raise awareness about the many issues that present themselves for people living with HIV and those at risk of contracting HIV.

The key messages of HIV Visibility, HIV Stigma, HIV Support and HIV Knowledge are being promoted through a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter asking people to show their solidarity with people who are living with HIV. They can do so by wearing a red ribbon, starting a conversation about HIV with friends and family, challenging HIV stigma and discrimination if they encounter it, or learning more about safer sex and getting tested for HIV. The hashtag for the campaign is #WADirl. Continue reading “#WADirl launched by Irish Health Minister”

World AIDS Day everyday to reduce stigma

The stigma that people with HIV routinely face discourages many from testing and others from being open about their HIV status.— Matthew Hodson | @matthew_hodson This is a major problem in fighting HIV. I still maintain that until more people living with HIV stand up and come out, tell their friends and family, colleagues and acquaintances, that they are living with HIV, it is going to be difficult to reduce the stigma. There is a concentration of stories about HIV at the moment because of World AIDS Day (WAD) on 1st December. WAD concentrates the coverage, but we in my … Continue reading World AIDS Day everyday to reduce stigma

Over 400 signatories asking Nigel Farage for HIV apology.

ACT UP is a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals, united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV pandemic.

Along with 375 other people and 44 organisations, I signed the letter composed by ACT UP London, an HIV activist group, which corrects inaccuracies in Nigel Farage’s claims during the televised leaders’ debate in the run up to the UK Parliamentary General Election.

During the leaders’ debate on 2 April, Mr Farage claimed: “Here’s a fact… there are 7,000 diagnoses in this country every year for people that are HIV positive… 60% of them are not British nationals.” He further stated treatment costs up to £25,000 per year per patient. Each of these claims is inaccurate, addressed by the letter with reference to the accurate statistics.

Mr Farage’s claims are wild, and scaremongering. They will divide our communities and further create stigma to people who are living with HIV. Continue reading “Over 400 signatories asking Nigel Farage for HIV apology.”

HIV: a coming out time and again

All of us living with HIV have to ‘come out’ time and again, telling another person about that we are positive as and when this information is needed. Today, I had to come out again, this time to the optometrist who was carrying out my eye test. It was a simple answer to his question about any medication I was taking. I named the drugs I was taking: Mirtazapine (for depression); Sumatriptan Succinate (for migraines as and when required); Pizotifen (to prevent migraines when they are happening regularly); and Eviplera (my anti-HIV drug). I am glad to say that there was no reaction at the mention … Continue reading HIV: a coming out time and again