Everything’s changed. Nothing’s changed.

1 December 2016

Every day, another 17 people are diagnosed with HIV in the UK.

Paul, who was diagnosed in November 2015, describes his fears –

‘How do I tell people? What will people’s reaction be? What will they think of me? Will they still be my friend? There is a stigma and a sense of shame that hovers over you.’

Sadly, over three decades on, people like Paul find themselves facing the same stigma and discrimination.

This World AIDS Day, we’re taking a moment to remember the epidemic of the 80s and 90s that fuelled action. But with the rise of effective treatments and the slowing of HIV/AIDS related deaths, awareness of HIV has dipped. Now complacency is a huge threat to future generations.

We are facing challenges that no one has faced before with the first generation to acquire HIV and survive, now growing old. As the number of people living with HIV grows, there is a huge concern that younger people simply don’t take it seriously enough.

A gift in your Will can help us normalise testing and make it a regular thing to do. We want an extra 100,000 people tested each year, by 2021. We will continue to innovate Terrence Higgins Trust, particularly in testing, and with a gift in your Will we can make a real impact on the lives of people living with HIV.

We’ve come a long way, but it’s not over. An HIV diagnosis can be a deeply traumatic experience for the majority of people and those diagnosed late often have acute health and support needs. It can also impact on anything from employment prospects and financial stability to relationships and physical health. Around a quarter of people living with HIV are unemployed.

Stopping the spread of HIV means encouraging people to get tested so they can get on treatment in good time. It means fighting the continuing stigma that stops people from getting tested, and makes them too worried to talk about it. And it means supporting people living – and sometimes struggling – with HIV, to give them strength and confidence when they feel they are alone.

That’s why our services are so vital today. Whether it’s trained volunteers on the helpline or in support service centres in the community, or providing confidential and convenient ways to test at home, Terrence Higgins Trust offers a safe and non-judgemental place for people to get help, advice and support.

These services are a lifeline to people diagnosed with HIV, when they are at their most vulnerable. But it is also a lifeline for each one of us seeking sexual health advice and support too.

With a gift in your Will, we can stop HIV in its tracks.

Find out more on our website.

Harry Ho, donor support officer at Terrence Higgins Trust

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