Around the world, 33.4 million people are living with HIV. 90,000 of those people are living in the UK, and in the last 10 years, people becoming infected with the virus has almost trebled. However, even with a vast amount of NHS and charity HIV testing incentives, over a quarter of people in the UK are still undiagnosed.*
What many people may not be aware of is that Reading has been flagged up by the Department of Health as an HIV 'hot spot' with HIV prevalence in this area higher than many UK cities.
Recent information from the Department of Health has flagged up Reading as a HIV 'hot spot', with HIV prevalence in this area being higher than many UK cities.
With this news, Thames Valley Positive Support has expressed to Reading Pride the importance for people to get tested. Numbers of late diagnosis are rising dramatically, which can make the virus a lot more difficult to deal with.
Thames Valley Positive Support is a charity which helps people who are affected by HIV throughout Berkshire. The charity won two awards at last year's Reading Pride festival for its work and support in the LGBT community.
Seven years ago, Reading Pride was created to bring to light the inequalities which exist outside the Reading and Thames Valley LGBT community. It campaigned for Civil Partnerships, equality within the workplace, and also brought homophobic bullying to light. As a whole, it brings together a community that strives to have the same rights that everyone else takes for granted - and continues to do so until they are shared across the world.
This year, Reading Price aims to raise awareness of HIV and safer sex initiatives. It wants to make the community conscious of the implications, but also to highlight the support which is available. With the help of local health centres around the Thames Valley, Reading Pride will be building an online education pack, but not without the help of the community too. The organisation is appealing for people who can provide their own insights and experiences to assist with their safer sex campaign, but also for help with other ongoing community projects.
Reading Pride is looking for anyone who has some spare time and would be willing to lend their support. No-one will be turned away, because without a supportive community, none of its work is possible.
To donate to the organisation, please press the 'Donate Today' button on the Reading Pride website. Anything you can spare will help it achieve its goals and community projects. It is also appealing for goods in kind or for anyone who can advise them on saving costs.
*Health Protection Agency 2009 report into HIV