Merseyside continues the fight against HIV this Worlds AIDS Day

Each year, on 1 December, people around the globe come together to commemorate World AIDS Day (WAD). Communities unite to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from HIV/AIDS-related illnesses.

This year, to mark World AIDS Day across Merseyside, home-grown LGBTQ+* charity Sahir House will be inviting the general public to support their campaign to “End Complacency, End Stigma, End Inequalities, End AIDs”

The Charity has teamed up with a plethora of local organisations, supporters and allies across Merseyside to educate people about HIV and to remind everyone about the importance of getting tested and practising safer sex.

Liverpool is a ‘Fast Track City’ committed to ending all new transmissions of HIV by 2030.

Over 36.3 million people worldwide have died of HIV/AIDS related illnesses. An estimated 37.7 million people are currently living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history.  Around 106,890 people in the UK are currently living with HIV, 9750 of whom live in the North West.

Today, with early diagnosis and treatment, people living with HIV can expect to live a normal life span. However, stigma and discrimination are still a reality for many people.

People living with HIV, who are on effective antiretroviral therapy (ART), cannot pass the virus on. Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U). 99% of those living with HIV in the North West are on ART.

Speaking ahead of World AIDS Day, Ant Hopkinson, CEO of Sahir House, is encouraging members of the public to play a more active role in helping to prevent new cases of HIV and in fighting HIV related stigma. He said:

“Whilst with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled – there is still no cure for the virus. It is still here and we should not be complacent or ignorant of the risks. Every single one of us has a role to play in HIV prevention as well as in supporting those living with HIV. There are simple steps we can take to protect ourselves, our sexual partners, and our loved ones from HIV infection and transmission. We can all help end HIV stigma through our words and actions in our everyday lives.”

World AIDS Day activities across Merseyside will commence early this year with Sahir House recognised as the official charity partner of a new production of Masquerade which will be showing at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre from Tuesday 22 to Saturday 26 November.

Theatre Producer and Artistic Director Bill Elms said: “I am absolutely delighted to have Sahir House on board as the official charity of Masquerade. The play is set in the 1980’s which really was the best and worst of times in the gay community, music and fashion were at its best, but it was also the emergence of the AIDS crisis and the play reflects this strongly within its storyline.  It’s the perfect partnership to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS which is still prevalent in the world we live in today. The play is about love, support, care and friendship which I know are also strong fundamentals within Sahir House.”

On World AIDS Day itself, Sahir House will be hosting a special World AIDS Day Vigil at Liverpool Parish Church (Our Lady and Saint Nicholas) from 2-3pm. The vigil is open to all and there is no need to book tickets.

The Rector of Liverpool, the Revd Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, who will lead the vigil, said: “Despite nearly forty years of public awareness, there is still much misinformation about HIV/AIDS and events such as World AIDS Day are really important to remind us that all our communities still live with the impact of the virus. At Liverpool Parish Church we are proud to support this event and hope that as many people as possible will come to support, to learn, and to show solidarity.”

Around the region, people will be encouraged to wear a red ribbon, the symbol of HIV awareness. Buildings across Liverpool, including St Georges Hall and Radio City Tower, will be lit up red in a sign of solidarity.

Pop-up HIV awareness and information stalls will appear in various locations across Sefton, St Helens, Knowsley and the Wirral. The public will also find World AIDS Day posters and leaflets in a variety of settings including doctors’ surgeries, clinics, cafes and bars.

A small remembrance event will be held in Birkenhead at the Liberty Bell Coffee Shop – the first time such an event has been organised by Wirral LGBTQ+ Network community members.

On Saturday 3rd December, the public will be invited to join National Museums Liverpool at the Treasure House Theatre – located within the City’s beautiful World Museum – for a variety of World AIDS Day talks and activities. Visitors will also be able to find info stalls hosted by Sahir House, Axess Sexual Health, Merseyside Police and other allied organisations.

To round off World AIDS Day activities, on Wednesday 7th December, local drag performers the Queen of Heartbreak, Dan Chan, Dross, Auntie Climax, Filla Crack and Naffrodite – supported by the Secret Circus – will be hosting a festive-themed drag cabaret at the Fashion Hub with 50% of profits donated to Sahir House.

For more details this year’s World AIDS Day efforts across Merseyside visit the World AIDS Day page on Sahir House’s website:

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LCR Pride Foundation is a registered charity in England & Wales, no 1185167. Registered Company 11754074.