Manchester supports World AIDS Day
Publish Date: 01/12/2011
World AIDS Day is being marked in Manchester today with a large red ribbon, the universal symbol for people living with HIV, displayed on the clock tower of Manchester Town Hall.
Know Your Status is the message of this year’s campaign. By getting tested early and knowing whether you are HIV positive or negative, means that you can take control of your health and your life.
Councillor Glynn Evans, Manchester City Council’s executive member for Adults said: "In Manchester we have always been at the forefront of the battle against HIV, but it's still with us. There are more people than ever living with HIV in the UK, more than 90,000, with more than a quarter unaware that they have the virus. This is why this year’s campaign to promote early testing is so important."
Councillor Paul Fairweather, lead member for gay men’s issues for Manchester City Council said: "We fully support the message that World Aids Day highlights, and this year it is vitally important. Getting tested early and being aware of your status is critical so that you can do something about it if you are HIV positive.
No-one should bury their head in the sand and think it will never happen to me, it is important to get tested and to continue to get tested to ensure that your status doesn't change. With new treatments, early diagnosis means you can expect to lead a full and active life. This message could be a lifesaver for some people."
Dunkan MacLean Services Adviser from the George House Trust said: "If it wasn’t for the fact that I'd had regular HIV tests and discovered that I was HIV positive at an early stage, my life could have been very different. Because I tested early I have been able to manage my health well. I lead a healthy, productive and active life. In fact, I'm probably fitter now than I have ever been in my whole life."
In Greater Manchester there are 3,980 people that are known about, living with HIV out of a total of 6,576 in the North West. (From HIV/Aids data in the NW 2010 published by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University).
Thousands of red ribbons will be available in Manchester City Council offices and staff are being encouraged to wear one as a sign of support for people living with HIV.
Manchester World AIDS Day volunteers will also be out on the streets of Manchester today, tomorrow and Saturday selling red ribbons to raise awarenes of HIV and help support those affected by the virus.
Manchester City Council has funded HIV services since 1985 and encouraged the development of a range of cutting edge local services. It is a member of the Manchester World AIDS Day Partnership, a network of local agencies which organises local events each year.
At 7.00pm this evening, the annual candlelit vigil will take place in Sackville Gardens, Sackville Street, next to the Beacon of Hope, the UK’s first public memorial to those affected by HIV.