The UK’s largest hospital - the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital - will be glowing red this evening in support of World AIDS Day.
Every year on 1 December, people around the world come together to mark World AIDS Day and call for an end to stigma.
Red lighting along the building symbolises the red ribbon which is the universal mark of awareness and support for those living with HIV.
The day is internationally recognised as a way of helping increase the awareness of HIV - the virus that can lead to AIDS. It is designed to challenge the stigma that people living with HIV face, and to remember those who’ve died from AIDS-related illnesses since the 1980s.
Dr Rak Nandwani FRCP, Consultant in Sexual Health & HIV Medicine, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, said: “The world has changed a lot since the eighties when HIV was first recognised and people diagnosed with HIV can now live full healthy lives.
“However, the way that others act and behave can make life difficult and unpleasant for people with HIV. These attitudes belong to the past. It’s time to end HIV stigma."
In Scotland, advances in medication mean that HIV is now a manageable long-term condition and, fortunately, very few people are now diagnosed with AIDS.
While AIDS is less of an issue for people in Scotland than it once was, HIV hasn’t gone away. Last year 47 people in the board area were diagnosed with HIV with that figure rising to 361 across country; that’s almost one person each day.
There’s a lot people can do to prevent transmission of HIV, from knowing the facts about HIV and how it’s passed on, to using condoms and lubricant, using sterile injecting equipment if which is never shared if injecting drugs, and getting tested regularly if you think you might be at risk.
Using condoms remains the single most successful method of practising safer sex and preventing transmission of HIV. It is quick and easy to pick up free condoms and lubricant from over 300 venues across Greater Glasgow & Clyde, including pharmacies and health centres and service users won’t be asked their name, address or any other personal details.
There is HIV testing available at Sandyford as well as support for a number of sexual, emotional and reproductive health issues and confidential HIV testing is also available at the Steve Retson Project.