Leaders of Scotland’s main political parties stand together to show support for World AIDS Day

HIV Scotland Holyrood Partyleader 2015

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP and the leaders of Scotland’s main political parties stood together inside the Scottish Parliament wearing red ribbons in an act of unity to promote World AIDS Day 2015 on December 1st.

In an act of cross-party consensus, the First Minister was photographed alongside, Kezia Dugdale MSP, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Ruth Davidson MSP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Willie Rennie MSP, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Partick Harvie MSP, leader of Scottish Green Party and the CEO of HIV Scotland, George Valiotis.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “On World AIDS Day, I stand with all leaders of the Scottish political parties to wear a red ribbon as an act of solidarity for people living with HIV, and to remember those who we have lost.  I am proud that Scotland continues to play a leading role in HIV treatment and prevention, but it is important that we all address the myths and stigma, that continue to create barriers for those living with, and at risk of HIV. I ask you to wear the red ribbon to show your support and challenge the misconceptions.

George Valiotis, Chief Executive of HIV Scotland, said, “It is inspiring to see all the leaders of Scotland’s political parties standing united to mark World AIDS Day. Their unity symbolises that everyone has a role in addressing HIV. There are many misunderstandings that continue to fuel the stigma that hinders people living a dignified life with HIV, and discourages people from getting tested and learning the facts about HIV.  People from all walks of life and from all parts of Scotland can be affected by HIV so on World AIDS Day, it is incumbent upon all of us not to be indifferent, but to continue our countries powerful response, by wearing a red ribbon, visiting www.hivscotland.com to learn the facts, and by treating people living with HIV with dignity and respect.  

 Siobhan McMahon MSP will lodge a motion within the Scottish Parliament on 1st December to mark World AIDS Day.

 

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World AIDS Day 2015: What Will You Do?

It’s only August but 1 December is not that far away – won’t be long until it’s time to get out the red ribbons! This year for World AIDS Day and European HIV Testing Week we’re part of the movement across Scotland asking individuals, organisations and politicians: What Will You Do?

There’s a lot we can all do to prevent new cases of HIV (the virus that can cause AIDS), to challenge the stigma and prejudice that people living with HIV face, and to remember those who’ve died from AIDS-related illnesses since the 1980s.

So we’re hoping as many people as possible will join in and add #WhatWillYouDo and a ribbon to their Facebook or Twitter profile pictures, get ideas from across this site about things they can do, follow the campaign on Twitter or Facebook and share their plans and pictures using #WhatWillYouDo.

Though 1 December is World AIDS Day, AIDS isn’t something we talk about much in Scotland these days; it’s a medical term only used when HIV has really seriously damaged a person’s immune system to the point where they are very ill. It’s really rare for anyone to get that ill in Scotland now, thanks to improving HIV medication and increasing testing that means people are diagnosed and on treatment much earlier.

But while AIDS is less of an issue for people in Scotland than it once was, HIV certainly hasn’t gone away. Last year 374 new people were diagnosed with HIV in this country; that’s more than one each day. There’s a lot everyone can do to help prevent new cases, from knowing the facts about HIV and how it’s transmitted, to making sure you use condoms, never sharing injecting kit, and getting tested regularly if you think you might be at risk.

Another simple thing we can all do is think about how it would feel to have HIV, and to challenge the stigma and prejudice that people living with HIV face. A good place to start is by learning some facts about HIV, like that it can’t be passed on by things like touching, kissing, sharing cups or toilet seats.

So this year, please join us and mark World AIDS Day and HIV Testing Week by asking yourself and people you know: What Will You Do?

There’s plenty to do this World AIDS Day!

Events are taking place right across Scotland on and around 1st December to mark and commemorate World AIDS Day – so there’s plenty to do if you want to get involved and show your support.

At the Scottish Parliament on 27 November MSPs will be urged to consider the future of Scotland’s response to HIV at a reception hosted by HIV Scotland. There will be short speeches from people living with HIV and the event will work to make politicians consider what may come next for Scotland as the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework draws to a close early next year. Invitation is closed for this event but there are a number of ways you can get involved with other events in your area!

Why not head along to one of the community gatherings taking place on 1st December? For an evening of speakers, music, reflection and refreshments head along to one of the following venues at 6pm; if you’re in Dundee – St Paul’s Cathedral, High Street, or Edinburgh – St John’s Church, Princes Street, or Fife – St Peter’s Episcopal Church, Kirkcaldy, or if you’re in the Borders – Volunteer Hall on St John Street.

If you live in or near Edinburgh don’t miss CabarAIDS, a fun and entertaining evening of cabaret organised by The University of Edinburgh’s Stop AIDS society. The event will be raising funds for Positive Help, so a donation of £3 is suggested to support this important charity.

Glasgow’s City Chambers will host a civic reception to mark World AIDS Day that you can pop along too from 7pm, and for an entertaining and lively way to commemorate World AIDS Day in Glasgow, why not get a ticket to the Edinburgh Gay Men’s Choir at Speakeasy, 10 John Street. The concert will also feature a performance from Choral Stimulation, an award winning a cappella group. Tickets are £8, or £6 for students and concessions.

Do also keep an eye out for pop-up HIV testing clinics and information stalls right across the country – universities, colleges, bars and even shopping centres are getting involved and spreading the word.

With all these events, organisations across Scotland are urging people to ask themselves ‘What Will You Do?’ for World AIDS Day this year. If you want to do more than simply attend an event then why not organise your own? Get your friends involved or try and promote it to your entire community. Most importantly, do whatever you can to raise awareness, challenge stigma and reduce new infections.

 

Scotland’s turning red for World AIDS Day!

Buildings across Scotland will light up red to mark World AIDS Day on the 1st December. In doing so, they’ll show their support for those in Scotland living with HIV and their commitment to challenging the stigma that still exists around HIV and AIDS.

Light Up Scotland 2013 saw 50 buildings from Ayrshire to Shetland taking part. These included churches, theatres, hospitals, landmarks and educational institutions. Volunteer photographers were out and about around the country recording the event, and sharing their incredible shots with us online. You can see their wonderful work on our Flickr stream.

This year, Light Up Scotland will be even bigger. With two weeks to go, 57 buildings have agreed to take part. We’re hoping that over 65 will be involved by December 1st.

New and exciting for this year: we’re really excited to announce that The Falkirk Wheel will be part of Light Up Scotland this year. We can’t wait to see this unique piece of Scotland’s infrastructure turn red!

Drivers heading home on the M8 on the 1st December will also see Andy Scott’s sculpture, The Heavy Horse, lit in red for Light Up Scotland. Meanwhile, through Network Rail’s participation, those passing through Glasgow Central Station or Edinburgh Waverley will see red lights, changes to display screens, and World AIDS Day stands.

We’ve also had a great response from Scotland’s universities and colleges. Buildings are set to turn red at Abertay University; Robert Gordon University; Borders College; the University of Edinburgh; the University of Stirling; and the University of Aberdeen. It’s been wonderful to see the enthusiasm of student groups around Scotland as they work to raise awareness of this issue: organizing for buildings to light up, creating events, and fundraising for HIV and AIDS charities.

Several buildings will be Lighting Up for the second or third time. These include the SSE Hydro, Camera Obscura, Harvey Nichols, Inverness Castle, and the John Finnie Street Clock in Kilmarnock.

You can see all of the buildings that will be lighting up in your area – take a look, visit them on December 1st and tweet or post a picture if you can, to us at @AIDSdayScot. And if you know a building that might want to take part, it’s not too late to get involved. Those with buildings, big or small, that want to be part of Light Up Scotland, can email us to find out more.

While most buildings will turn their outside lights red, some will take part in other ways: flying flags; turning their internal lights red; and displaying messages on posters or screens.

With over 40 volunteer photographers having got in touch so far, we’re excited not just to see Scotland light up, but to share it with you. We’ll be busy keeping you updated on Light Up Scotland in the run up to World AIDS Day, and on December 1st itself. You can like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter for all the latest.

Whatever you’re doing to mark World AIDS Day, we’d love to hear from you. You can share photos of buildings participating in Light Up Scotland, or tell us what you’re doing for World AIDS Day using #WhatWillYouDo and #WorldAIDSDay.

We’ve put together some ideas for what you can do to get involved in World AIDS Day and can’t wait to see people and organisations across Scotland marking the day.

World AIDS Day 2014: What will you do?

The 1 December is just around the corner and it can mean only one thing: time to get out the red ribbons! This year for World AIDS Day and European HIV Testing Week we’re part of the movement across Scotland asking individuals, organisations and politicians: What Will You Do?

There’s a lot we can all do to prevent new cases of HIV (the virus that can cause AIDS), to challenge the stigma and prejudice that people living with HIV face, and to remember those who’ve died from AIDS-related illnesses since the 1980s.

So we’re hoping as many people as possible will join in and add #WhatWillYouDo and a ribbon to their Facebook or Twitter profile pictures, get ideas from across this site about things they can do, follow the campaign on Twitter or Facebook and share their plans and pictures using #WhatWillYouDo.

Though 1 December is World AIDS Day, AIDS isn’t something we talk about much in Scotland these days; it’s a medical term only used when HIV has really seriously damaged a person’s immune system to the point where they are very ill. It’s really rare for anyone to get that ill in Scotland now, thanks to improving HIV medication and increasing testing that means people are diagnosed and on treatment much earlier.

But while AIDS is less of an issue for people in Scotland than it once was, HIV certainly hasn’t gone away. Last year 354 new people were diagnosed with HIV in this country; that’s almost one each day. There’s a lot everyone can do to help prevent new cases, from knowing the facts about HIV and how it’s transmitted, to making sure you use condoms, never sharing injecting kit, and getting tested regularly if you think you might be at risk.

Another simple thing we can all do is think about how it would feel to have HIV, and to challenge the stigma and prejudice that people living with HIV face. A good place to start is by learning some facts about HIV, like that it can’t be passed on by things like touching, kissing, sharing cups or toilet seats.

So this year, please join us and mark World AIDS Day and HIV Testing Week by asking yourself and people you know: What Will You Do?