Health & Fitness What does the red ribbon mean? Why Boris Johnson and other MPs are marking World Aids Day, and how to get one

19:07  01 december  2021
19:07  01 december  2021 Source:   inews.co.uk

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If you watched Prime Minister’s Questions this week, you might have noticed Boris Johnson, Sir Keir Starmer and other MPs wearing red ribbons on their jackets.

These ribbons are in support of World Aids Day, which is held on 1 December every year.

World Aids Day is an annual opportunity for people to fight against and destigmatise the virus.

It was founded back in 1988, and was the world’s first ever global health day. These days it is backed by high profile people across the globe, and its red ribbon has become a recognisable symbol of support.

How can I buy a red ribbon?

The National Aids Trust, which organises the event, says: “World Aids Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. Most people do this by wearing an HIV awareness red ribbon on the day.”

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You can order a red ribbon from their online shop, or pick one up in any branch of MAC Cosmetics in the UK.

How else can I get involved?

Get tested

Getting a blood test is the only way to find out if you have HIV. If you are living with HIV, starting treatment early means you can live a full, healthy and productive life.

Free and confidential HIV tests are available from NHS sexual health clinics, charity testing services, many GP surgeries, pharmacies and online for self-testing at home.

Raise money

The National Aids Trust has a fundraising pack full of ideas to help you plan a fundraising event.

You can order a free pack of 100 fabric red ribbons to help with your fundraising efforts.

If you do not want to plan your own event, there are plenty of existing ones, from bake sales to art shows to performances, that you can get involved with. Find one near you here.

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Why is World Aids Day important?

About 105,200 people are currently living with HIV in the UK, and an estimated 38 million people have the virus globally.

The National Aids Trust says: “Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or Aids-related illnesses, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

“Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition.

“Despite this, each year in the UK over 4,139 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.

“World Aids Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.”

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