Fight the stigma on our doorstep

30th November 2012 at 00:00

I was interested to read "Fight the virus and the stigma" (Resources, 16 November). It accurately reported on the success of antiretroviral drugs, and on the stigmatising of HIV and how this is now the greater problem. But it was a missed opportunity to address the stigma and ignorance around HIV in the UK.

The National AIDS Trust (NAT) recently released its shadow strategy for HIV in England. It states that: "By the end of 2012 it is estimated that there will be 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK" and that "we have not reduced rates of new infection". Nearly a quarter of people living with HIV in the UK are unaware of their status. The NAT's strategy also explains that "public understanding and knowledge of HIV is poor and getting worse".

Too often, HIV is dismissed as a problem of the developing world, and the recommended resources alongside your article further fuelled this stereotype. The International Planned Parenthood Federation has recently launched a schools resource (learningpositive.com). It is a comprehensive website and app designed to support pupils to learn more about HIV and address the stigma surrounding the disease by developing their own campaign. We thoroughly recommend this educational tool.

Abi Carter, Participation officer, Children's HIV Association.

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