Bradshaw says taboo around HIV needs to be broken

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the taboo around HIV needs to be broken, after it was revealed over 900 people here were living with the virus.

The Detail investigative site revealed 934 people in Northern Ireland have been diagnosed with HIV – the highest level on record. A total of 126 people diagnosed with the virus have died, including AIDS and AIDS-related deaths.

South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw said a major issue surrounding HIV was people still not talking about it.

“By and large, many people don’t feel comfortable talking about HIV and associated issues, whether in the home or among their friends and family. As long as it remains a taboo, that will remain the case. We need to normalise it so it becomes a subject people feel comfortable talking about. Therefore, they can ask for advice and guidance on HIV and any related matters.

“We must do everything we can to help people who have been diagnosed with HIV. While drugs to treat HIV would consist of an initial financial outlay, money could be saved in the long run. It would give us more to invest in groups such as Positive Life, which can run community education and preventative measures, among other actions.

“It would be a significant way to get the message out there than while HIV is one of the biggest challenges facing the human race, it no longer has to have the stigma it once did.”

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