MP backs campaign to mark World AIDS Day

December 2, 2008 11:19 AM

David Howarth and bannerCambridge MP David Howarth will raise awareness of AIDS and HIV on Sunday when he attends a memorial service in the city.

The service, at the Michaelhouse Centre in Trinity Street to remember those who have died from AIDS, is being organised as part of the Red and Alive campaign to mark World AIDS Day.

DHIVERSE, the Cambridge-based HIV and sexual health charity, has launched the campaign to raise awareness of the disease which killed three million people worldwide in the last 12 months.

Between 1998 and 2007, the number of new HIV diagnoses in the East of England increased by 478 per cent. Last year 520 people were newly diagnosed. Across the UK as a whole, there was a five per cent increase in new cases.

For many people who are living with HIV, stigma and the fear of discrimination are the biggest barriers, claims the charity. They prevent people from coming forward for testing and life prolonging treatment.

Mr Howarth said: "It is vital that we draw the world's attention to the needs of people living with HIV and work to lift the stigma so that these people can get the testing and treatment they need.

"It is only with increased awareness that we have any hope of stopping the spread of this disease which claims so many lives."

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