Posted on: 22 November 2023

World Aids Day is on 1 December when, people around the world unite to show their support for people living with HIV, raise awareness of how to get tested and commemorate those who have sadly lost their lives to AIDS.

People living with HIV experience discrimination, including in work, education, housing and even when receiving health and social care. HIV-associated stigma remains a significant factor in people’s experience of living with HIV, but it also significantly inhibits testing and prevention interventions.

CNWL's BAME Network co-chair, Sheila Nursimhulu, said

"Although we have come a long way since the days when so little was known about  HIV and AIDS, the conditions remain a global public health issue today. As of 2020, AIDS has killed between 27.2 million and 47.8 million people worldwide, and an estimated 37.7 million people are living with HIV. The good news is that recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world has helped to reduce the death rate from AIDS by 64% since its peak in 2004.

The HIV infection does not discriminate between creed, colours, gender or economic status, making it a matter that is relevant to all sections of society. As a community, our collective role in supporting the good work that has been going on over the last few decades remain key in combatting HIV and Aids, so let’s all do our bit to continue to raise awareness."

World AIDS Day is the perfect time for us to raise much needed awareness about HIV.  So, what can you do?

  1. Get a test – did you know you can order a free STI testing kit, including HIV test online:
  2. Knowledge is power: Read more about how HIV is and isn’t transmitted here:Transmission & prevention | aidsmap
  3. Read more about Can’t Pass It On campaign (someone living with HIV and on effective treatment can’t pass it on)
  4. Rock the Ribbon: Read more about the Worlds AIDS Day 2023 campaign here:
  5. Watch this short video from Dr Laura Waters, CNWL’s HIV Lead and GU Consultant at Mortimer Market Centre – talking about the past, the present and the future of HIV

Tell us why you'll #RockTheRibbon with your community and be an HIV ally this year.

CNWL’s Sexual Health Services in London and Surrey will also be promoting PrEP Awareness Week (Monday 27 November until Sunday 3 December), which coincides with World AIDS Day.

The team want to make sure as many people as possible know about PrEP, especially those most at risk of HIV, such as gay, bi, and other men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM), and people who either come from, or whose partners come from, a country with high rates of HIV.

You can find out more about where our outreach team will be at this link (opens webpage)

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to end the HIV epidemic for good, but we must also continue fighting the stigma still experienced by people living with HIV. 

HIV and Stigma Webinar

Join Surrey County Council for a webinar on Wednesday 13 December from 1pm to 2pm, to update your knowledge on HIV, hear experiences from people living with HIV and find out how you can contribute towards the Surrey HIV Action Plan and help to fight stigma in Surrey. 

This event is open to all and we encourage clinicians and non-clinicians to attend.  Please click here to book your place.

Personal reflections

From Fernando Monteiro, Senior Peer Support Worker, Bloomsbury Clinic at the Mortimer Market Centre

"World AIDS Day for me is a day of remembrance and celebration. I remember those lives lost to HIV, whose ambitions and dreams were cut short by bigotry, illness and pain. The world has lost so much human capital for HIV over the years and as a result humanity is poorer. But World AIDS Day is also about celebrating the leaps and bounds in HIV research and medicine.

"I am filled with pride for belonging to a community of creative and resilient people, who stand in a long line of kindred spirits that stretches from the past to the present and into the future. We owe our achievements to the seeds sown by the AIDS lost generation and their allies. So, let’s honour them by remembering their agency with pride and pledge to always follow their guiding light. By wearing the red ribbon, we stand in solidarity with those who have been affected by HIV and commemorate those who have passed."