NHS Lothian supports World AIDS Day 2012

NHS Lothian and local third sector partners will this week mark World AIDS Day (1 December) by screening a projection onto one of Edinburgh’s best known buildings (Friday 30 November and Saturday 1 December from 5pm until midnight).

Register House, at the east end of Princes Street, is set to be illuminated with images and text reminding people of important messages about HIV.

Among the messages which will be beamed on to Register House will be information about HIV and a simple message to ‘Protect you and your partner’ from the virus.

Dona Milne, Deputy Director of Public Health and Health Policy, NHS Lothian, said: “We are using this exciting and innovative approach on World AIDS day to raise awareness of ‘what is HIV?’.

“At a time when rates of HIV are increasing we know that knowledge of the virus is declining. Displaying a red ribbon is a simple and powerful way to raise awareness and challenge the stigma and discrimination which surrounds HIV and AIDS.

“Reducing the number of partners you have sex with, or the number of partners you have unprotected sex with, reduces your risk of STIs including HIV. Used correctly, condoms provide the best protection against HIV.

“Knowing your HIV status means you can keep well and protect partners from infection if you have HIV, or stay negative if you do not have the virus.  The only way to know your status is to Ask for the test at your GP or local sexual health clinic.”

Audrey Robertson, Acting Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said: “The National Records of Scotland is delighted to help support NHS Lothian in raising public awareness of World AIDS Day. We hope that many people will see the message projected onto General Register House, our landmark building in central Edinburgh.”

As part of the “Light Up Scotland” venture led by HIV Scotland a number of other buildings across Edinburgh will also be illuminated red to help raise awareness of HIV in Scotland and across the world.

Red ribbon condoms will be distributed from all c:card points in Lothian accompanied by leaflets that are based on the same messages as in the projection.

For more information about HIV and to see the projection which will be shown on Register House follow the link to www.hivfacts.org.


Notes to Editors

World AIDS Day is held on 1st December every year and is an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the response against HIV and AIDS by showing their support for people living with HIV. It is recognised by the red ribbon which is worn in support.

Mercury Events Services are working as a partner with NHS Lothian and will project the animation on to the front of Register House.

It is estimated 5650 people are living with HIV in Scotland. In 2011, there were 362 new diagnoses of HIV in Scotland (Statistics from Health Protection Scotland – diagnoses up to end of June 2012).

Used correctly, condoms provide the best protection against HIV.

It is much better for people to know their HIV status through getting an HIV test so that early treatment can be offered.
Late diagnosis causes half of all HIV related deaths. These could be prevented with earlier treatment.

The Scottish Government are lighting up red a number of buildings across the country to mark World AIDS day. In the city of Edinburgh the following buildings and locations will be illuminated.

Harvey Nichols
Broughton St Marys church
Edinburgh University
National Gallery of Scotland - Princes Street
The Camera Obscura
Calton Hill
RBS HQ St Andrew Square
Napier University
St John’s Church
St. Andrew's House
Victoria Quay

Gay Mens Health in partnership with members of the Edinburgh Sexual Health and HIV Group have developed the website: www.hivfacts.org

The Lothian Sexual Health website: http://www.lothiansexualhealth.scot.nhs.uk/Pages/default.aspx

More information about c:card can be found at the website: www.ccard.org.uk

Issued: 28 November 2012
David Ridd
NHS Lothian
0131 465 5648
07730 616 435