World Aids Day will take front stage at NHS Lothian’s awareness raising events on Tuesday (1 December).

NHS Lothian will host a one woman play, called ‘Touched’, as part of a day aimed at raising awareness of HIV stigma, prejudice and discrimination.

The play draws on real life experiences to highlight the stigma that surrounds HIV and attempts to dispel the myths about those living with HIV.

There are over a 1000 people living with HIV who are receiving treatment from NHS Lothian and partner organisations.

The free play will be held at The Book Trust on 1 December at 9:15 and 1:30. Places can be booked by calling 0131 536 3508.

Jim Sherval, Specialist in Public Health at NHS Lothian, said:

"The message of World Aids Day is to look at the reality of HIV.
“Many men make assumptions about their status, but we have excellent testing services in Lothian and I would urge men to have regular tests.  Early diagnosis can save your life.
“The stigma that those who live with HIV continue to face is very real and very damaging.  I hope this play will show people the impact of such stigma and challenge them to change the way they think about this issue.”

The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day will focus on the reality of HIV in the UK today. The aim is to present true, and sometimes surprising, accounts of how HIV affects people in the UK and to dispel myths and misinformation.

NHS Lothian’s events will also look at the reality of HIV in Lothian today where:

  • There continues to be a focus on men who have sex with men as the main risk group.  Forty percent of gay or bisexual men in Lothian with HIV don't know they have the virus. 
  • The vast majority of infections from heterosexual intercourse were acquired abroad.   With the launch of the National action plan NHS Lothian is looking to put in place extra interventions to address the main issues for this group.