Why World AIDS Day still matters

  • We have lost 1,000s of people as a result of HIV.
  • About 1 in 16 gay and bisexual men in the UK are living with HIV.
  • 1 in 8 gay men in London are living with HIV.
  • About 16% of gay and bisexual men living with HIV have not been diagnosed.
  • The number of gay men diagnosed each year continues to rise, with an estimated 3,250 diagnosed in 2014.
  • Up to 82% of new infections come from people who don't know they have HIV.
  • 96% of gay men living with HIV, surveyed by FS, said that they had experienced stigma relating to their HIV status.

The reality of living with HIV today has changed considerably since the first World AIDS Day in 1988 but the need to prevent new infections, dispel ignorance and challenge HIV stigma is as urgent as ever. This year let's make World AIDS Day count by observing the following actions:

Know your own status
If you haven't tested for a year or longer, make a plan to test now.

You may think that you haven't taken any real risks but condoms can fail - and so can monogamous relationships, and oral sex isn't entirely without risk. Even if you're pretty confident that the result is going to be negative, it's still better to know for certain.

GMFA testing reminder service:

If now isn’t a good time for you to test, GMFA have set up a service that reminds you to test on the month you think will be best for you. You can access this service here.

Talk about HIV
On World AIDS Day, take the time to discuss HIV with your friends: what do they do to protect themselves or their partners? Do they disclose their status to their partners before sex? What do they do if someone tells them that they're HIV positive?

If more gay men talk about HIV we can think about it more clearly, dispel any myths or misconceptions, gather information if necessary, and reaffirm the reasons why we don't want to be involved in transmission of HIV. You can find out much more about HIV and safer sex here.

Support a charity
Everyone knows that these are tough times economically. Most of GMFA's HIV prevention work, including FS, our HIV prevention campaigns and this website, receive no statutory funding. The cost of these projects combined is less than the treatment and care costs of a single person diagnosed with HIV. Please support us by making a donation online here. Every penny counts.

Wear a red ribbon
But don't just wear it to fit in. Tell people why you're wearing it. Talk to them about testing and treatment, about safer sex and staying in control. Encourage them to think about the sex that they have, the risks that they take and the impact of their attitudes. Remember the lives that have been lost and the people whose health will suffer in the future if we ignore the problem. Think about what we can all do to help others and reducing HIV-related stigma. That's what wearing the ribbon is all about.

Working together we can stop the spread of HIV. Thank you for your support. Team GMFA.