Tackling HIV stigma on World AIDS Day

1st December 2017

Globally there are an estimated 36.7 million people living with HIV, including over 100,000 people who are living with the condition in the UK. Despite these high numbers, many people still do not know the facts about HIV. When Sammi returned from his ICS placement in Tanzania last year, he wanted to confront this issue head-on. So on World AIDS Day on 1st December, he volunteered in Brighton to tackle the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.

“Many people fail to understand the complexity of HIV and AIDS so it is important to talk about the condition and raise awareness for it. While it’s important to do this work to reduce the rate of HIV infection, it is also to help those individuals living in discrimination on a day to day basis because of the stigma attached to HIV. I want to contribute towards killing that stigma as much as I can.

“I have been volunteering on behalf of the Terrence Higgins Trust for more than two years. On World AIDS Day last year, I took advantage of the occasion and participated in an evening of fundraising at Charles Street Bar in Brighton.

“I walked around the venue with a bucket to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust to fight HIV/AIDS and spent time raising awareness about their free HIV testing services. It’s important for us to speak about HIV in general as talking openly about it is the best way to kill the stigma surrounding the condition.

“We set up a testing stall in the bar and encouraged people to be tested for STIs. The testing area made a big impact and we managed to raise awareness about HIV to a massive crowd.

“The night was a big success. We raised more than £5,000 for the Terrence Higgins Trust through an auction and bucket collections. I’m thrilled that so many people were able to hear our message on World AIDS Day.”

World AIDS Day is crucial in reminding the public and governments that HIV has not gone away and that there is still much more work to be done in tackling both the condition and surrounding stigma. We are thrilled that Sammi is continuing to make a difference as one of our Raleigh alumni and we’re proud to also be supporting this movement in our London head office this week.

Join us and wear your red ribbon with us this World AIDS day.

How have you been making an impact after your Raleigh placement?  We’d love to hear about it! Get in touch at alumni@raleighinternational.org

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