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by Gemma Fraser
27 November 2020
Campaign to eliminate new HIV transmissions by 2030


Campaign to eliminate new HIV transmissions by 2030

Scotland can eliminate new HIV transmissions and end HIV stigma by 2030 – that’s the key message of a national campaign being launched today.

HIV Scotland’s Generation Zero campaign aims to “make HIV the conversation” in order to eliminate the myths and misconceptions which surround it.

The campaign launch coincides with the results of a new poll which found that 46 per cent of people living in Scotland believe HIV can be transmitted through biting, spitting or kissing.

The same poll, conducted by Mark Diffley on behalf of HIV Scotland, also showed that only nine per cent of people strongly agree that they would be comfortable kissing someone who is HIV positive.

The charity believes that this latest public attitudes poll highlights the need for an intensive campaign about the modern realities of HIV and it is asking members of the public to sign the Generation Zero pledge.

As part of the campaign, which is backed by celebrities Alan Cumming and Lorraine Kelly, the charity is launching a fundraising drive to raise up to £100,000 for what it says will be the first national TV campaign about HIV since the tombstone ad of the 1990s. 

HIV Scotland’s chief executive Nathan Sparling said: “We have 10 years to end the HIV epidemic in Scotland.

“It is clear through the polling data which we’re publishing today that many myths still exist. There is a need for a national, coordinated public awareness campaign, including TV advertising, to end stigma.

“There has not been a TV ad since the ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ ads famed for its tombstone imagery – which undoubtedly has lingered in people’s minds, perpetuating the stigma of the 80s. 

“Ending stigma will help us ensure that people can access services and receive the treatment and care they need to live well. 

“Generation Zero is about reframing the conversation – it shouldn’t just be for the government, NHS or charities to talk about HIV. It’s up to everyone. 

 “So, this World AIDS Day we’re asking all of Scotland to make HIV the conversation. By doing so, we can all be part of the generation that ended the epidemic.”

 The chair of HIV Scotland, Dr Nicoletta Policek, said: “As a woman living with HIV, I am acutely aware of the myths and misconceptions about HIV that are still prevalent across society. 

“The aim of Generation Zero is to bring people together, regardless of their age, sexuality or gender, to talk about HIV in the modern context. We are all far more aware of viruses and how they work – but we can’t allow the misinformation and myths from the eighties to continue. 

“Ending the HIV epidemic is within our reach.”

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