Rotherham marks World Aids DayPublished Wednesday, 30th November 2016
Rotherham will mark World Aids Day this week with a gathering in the town centre.
On Thursday 1 December, World Aids Day will be commemorated at the Heart of Steel outside the Minster.
Starting at 5.30pm, the public informal gathering will include stalls, information about HIV prevention, HIV testing, as well light refreshments and music.
The event is organised by Rotherham LGBT Forum, Lifeline and Rotherham-based organisation Plusme - a Council Public Health commissioned service providing a wide range of support services, activities and training for organisations and people living with or affected by HIV in Rotherham, Barnsley and Sheffield.
Plusme has invited Rotherham Councillors to join them at the Heart of Steel on World Aids Day which is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
Rotherham Cabinet Member for Public Health, David Roche said: "World Aids Day is an important reminder that there is still vital work to do to stop the stigma and discrimination and to increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education about HIV. There are still many people who do not know the facts and how to protect themselves and others from HIV. I would urge anyone to take the test and stop worry and doubt. It is better to know your HIV status than not."
Members of the Plusme organisation have already been involved with raising awareness about the importance of testing for HIV. As part of the recent European HIV testing week, The Leader of Rotherham Council, Cllr Chris Read, invited Plusme Project Manager Karl Cooper to test him for HIV.
Cllr Read said: "I was proud to play my part in stopping the stigma around HIV by having a test last week. People shouldn't be scared to get tested. Anyone can contract HIV, so you're better off knowing and getting support and treatment if you need it."
Following on from this Plusme will be also be running a stall at Riverside House during the day on World Aids Day to give information to staff and visitors about HIV as well as distribute red ribbons, the international symbol of HIV awareness and support.
Around 100,000 are currently living with HIV in the UK and globally an estimated 34 million people have HIV. More than 35 million people have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Karl Cooper, Project Manager, for Plusme said: "Although World Aids Day is a great opportunity to get the public talking about HIV, we need to remember the importance of raising awareness of HIV all year round.
"Plusme runs services year round, providing information about how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and help support people living with HIV to take care of their own health and the health of others, and ensure everyone living with HIV is treated fairly, and with respect and understanding."