Today marks World AIDS Day. A day to remember the estimated 35 million people who have died globally from AIDS related illnesses. It also gives us time to reflect on Scotland’s HIV response and reinforce our commitment to reduce the number of new infections and ensure that those currently living with HIV are able to have a healthy and stigma free life.
It is estimated that there are currently around 5134 people living in Scotland who have been diagnosed HIV positive. I find it disappointing to learn that there are around 13% of people living in Scotland haven’t been tested and so, are unaware of their status. These statistics show that that there is still a lot of work to be done to raise awareness.
In support of World Aids Day I wore a red ribbon at First Ministers Questions yesterday.
Stigma affects everyone living with HIV and it can cause severe negative health and social problems. It continues to be a barrier to testing and we must all work together to eradicate it. As the MSP for South Scotland, I will send out a strong message that I will step up to the mark and take a leading role in the on-going effort to end HIV transmissions and HIV related stigma in Scotland