Leeds City Council mark 40th anniversary of HIV

96% of people living with HIV in Leeds now have an undetectable viral load due to regular treatment, says the council on the 40th anniversary of HIV in the UK. 

Leeds City Council, alongside sexual health charities and the NHS, are preparing for a series of events across Leeds to mark World AIDS Day 2021.

3 million people have acquired HIV since the start of the epidemic, and 36.3 million people are estimated to have died from the illness, with currently around 105,200 people in the UK living with HIV, of whom 1,350 live in Leeds.

The events are set to honour those who have lost their lives to the illness.

The anniversary marks 40 years since the first reported cases of HIV-related illnesses and deaths. 

In the UK, 98% of people living with HIV are on effective treatment, so much so that they have an undetectable viral load which means they cannot pass on the virus to others. Other successes include the introduction of PrEP, which has been available on NHS prescription via sexual health clinics since October 2020.

anti pregnancy pills and condoms

However, although progress has been made, there is still a stigma around being tested for the virus, which can cause complications. In Leeds, over 57% of people testing positive for HIV receive a late diagnosis, which means they are more likely to have negative impacts on their long-term health. There will be events held such as a one-minute silence and a remembrance and celebration event.

Cllr Salma Arif, Executive Member for public health and active lifestyles said about the event: ‘It is important to remember the people that we have lost to HIV over the last 40 years as well as recognising the advances that have been made within research, prevention and treatment. However, there is still so much more we need to do collectively, in order to tackle inequalities to healthcare access, reduce stigma and raise awareness around HIV.

‘We remain committed to ensuring Leeds is a city where there is equitable access to HIV prevention, diagnosis and support; making sure that under-represented groups such as women, people from BAME communities and trans folk are not left behind.’

‘With a focus on reducing stigma, this year’s national World AIDS Day campaign features celebrities and influencers promoting the message “#RockTheRibbon with me”, which encourages people to wear the red ribbon, a global symbol for solidarity, and to become an HIV ally with those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.”


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