#RockTheRibbon on AIDS Awareness Day

This year’s theme for World AIDS Day on the 1st of December recognises the importance of communities contributing to the AIDS response at local, national or even international levels. 

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the late stage of HIV infection that weakens a person’s immune system and ability to fight infections. If an individual carrying HIV is not treated, eventually the infection will progress to AIDS and will acquire a large number of symptoms and illnesses that are carried by opportunistic infections. 

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Awareness Events in London

Every year, hundreds of events across the country are organised to show support for people affected by HIV. The map below shows local London events for the upcoming days. 

[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1cfAk_gxNgienIX8v8QJ6fUnmco7EqmXW&w=640&h=480]
Map: Ruta Tamulynaite

Positive East charity based in east London for over 26 years are the organisers of the annual World AIDS Day Red Run fundraising event. Their support programmes are extensive and open to anyone over the age of 18.

Ian Montgomery, Head of Fundraising and Communications, said that their services for people with HIV include “peer support, group support, counselling, workshops, health and wellbeing activities, information and advice and volunteering opportunities”. Ian emphasised that “anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to come to one of our pop up testing clinics and receive a test”. The charity offers free and rapid HIV/STI testing and works with averagely over 2000 walk-ins a year.

The Red Ribbon

To beat the stigma surrounding communities suffering from HIV, a group of artists created one of the most recognised symbols: the red ribbon to be worn as a universal sign of support to those carrying the infection. 

National AIDS Trust is offering a pack of 100 free ribbons to any of the UK fundraising organisations for their December events. 

You can buy a single or a pack of red ribbons from National AIDS Trust or pick one up with a suggested donation of £1 from partner locations of the Trust, such as MAC Cosmetics, all branches of NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank, some branches of HSBC and Morrisons. 

Words and video: Ruta Tamulynaite / Subbing: Bridget Cardenas Pazmino
Featured Image: AdobeStock

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