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Health / Town Hall lit red for World AIDS Day

Photo: Jim Mullay

LERWICK Town Hall has been lit up red to mark World AIDS Day, which is taking place today (Wednesday).

A spokesperson for NHS Shetland said the day is a “great opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS by increasing awareness, tackling prejudice and improving education”.

This year marks 40 years since the first reported cases of HIV-related illnesses and deaths.

More than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS related illnesses worldwide, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

But thanks to medical advances 98 per cent of people living with HIV in the UK are on effective treatment and 97 per cent cannot pass the virus on.

Sexual transmission is the main route that HIV is passed on between individuals.

The NHS said the importance of HIV testing is key to ending transmission.

Locally people can ask their GP practice for a HIV test, while there are also free and confidential home testing kits available from this link.

People can also arrange an appointment at the sexual health clinic if they would prefer to see someone face to face. For more information email shet.sexualhealth@nhs.scot.

In Scotland HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) became available in 2017 via the NHS for individuals attending sexual health clinics who are at high risk of acquiring HIV through sexual transmission.

PrEP is a combination of two medicines taken as one pill. Research shows that PrEP is very effective at preventing HIV.

Anyone wishing to discuss PrEP is asked to get in contact with NHS Shetland by emailing shet.sexualhealth@nhs.scot.