It is World AIDS Day on Wednesday 1st December and Jersey’s Blood Borne Virus Department (BBV) and The Sexual Health Team are supporting the National AIDS Trust campaign.
There are an estimated 38 million people globally living with HIV and more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS related illnesses.
Over 105,000 people in the UK are currently living with HIV and although numbers are low in Jersey, many still don’t know the facts on how to protect themselves and others.
Specialist Nurse, Michelle Mulhall, said: “World AIDS Day is an important day to recognise that HIV has not gone away and that there is a need to raise awareness to help educate the community and reduce prejudice. HIV can affect anyone regardless of age, gender and sexuality and it is important to address the stigma associated with the virus.
“This is an opportunity for people to unite globally to show support to those living with HIV, commemorate those who have died from AIDS related illnesses and end discrimination against people living with the virus.
“It’s important to note that everyone should know their status and that timely diagnosis and treatment is paramount in preventing AIDS related illnesses and even death. Effective antiretroviral therapy can reduce the level of the virus so that it becomes undetectable in the body and ultimately, untransmissible to others. The only way to know if you have HIV is to have a blood test.”
Health and Community Services is offering free testing on Wednesday 1 December from 8am-12pm at the General Hospital. Islanders must book an appointment by calling 01534 444319 or email BBV@health.gov.je.
Anyone that cannot attend on World AIDS Day, can call Blood Borne Viruses or GUM on 01534 442856 or email S.H@gov.je to organise an alternative appointment.