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Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

Fighting the stigma of HIV

Fighting the stigma of HIV

Posted on November 6th, 2020

Tuesday 1st December is World AIDS Day, and whilst medical science has advanced considerably since the condition first hit the headlines in the 1980s, we still have a long way to go in terms of removing the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS. One way to play your part in the fight against prejudice is to wear a red ribbon on World AIDS Day, and educate yourself and others about HIV/AIDS.

What’s the story behind the red ribbon?

The red looped ribbon may look simple but it is full of meaning. The symbol was created by a group of 12 artists back in 1991 in support of Visual AIDS, an HIV-awareness arts organisation. The idea was to design something that could be worn to visually signify awareness and support for people living with HIV. They deliberately avoided colours traditionally associated with the LGBTQ community, such as pink and rainbow stripes, because they wanted to emphasise the fact that HIV can affect anyone. Instead, they opted for red – symbolic of the heart.

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is a virus (the Human Immunodeficiency Virus) that attacks the body’s defence system and reduces its capacity to fight off disease. If a person is infected with HIV, they may develop the condition known as AIDS, (or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).

Who is at risk of HIV/AIDS?

It is important to understand that anyone of any age, race, gender, or sexual orientation can be infected with HIV/AIDS. Risk factors include sexual activity without the use of condoms and sharing needles and injection equipment.

What are the symptoms of HIV/AIDS?

Most people infected with HIV experience a flu-like illness that occurs 2-6 weeks post-contact. After this, HIV may not cause any symptoms for several years. Sadly, however, during this time the virus will cause progressive damage to your immune system, resulting in weight loss, chronic diarrhoea, recurrent infections, and serious life-threatening illnesses.

It’s important to remember that early diagnosis and treatment of HIV can prevent these problems. And that is why it is so important to get tested if you had been involved in high risk activity such as unprotected sex.

What tests are available?

YourGP offers three HIV tests, all of which can be undertaken in complete confidence at our practice.

  • Early Detection Test (Multiplex): This is our earliest test and can detect the HIV virus from 10 days post-contact. We recommend follow up testing at 28 days. Results take 3 working days.
  • HDUO Rapid HIV Test: Detects the HIV virus from 28 days post-contact. Results are usually available the same day or the next working day.
  • The Instant Same Day HIV test: A pinprick of blood is put into a testing device that gives a result within just a couple of minutes. The test is over 99% accurate in detecting the HIV virus from 90 days post-contact.

Is there a cure for HIV/AIDS?

Despite advances in recent years, sadly there is still no known sure for HIV/AIDS, however there are effective treatments that enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.

Should your test come back positive, rest assured that the healthcare experts at YourGP will provide you with all the necessary advice, support, and treatment.

To book a test or to talk through any concerns, call 0131 225 5656 or email reception@your.gp to book an appointment.

Jacqui as ‘Master’ has made this one of the most relaxing, memorable experiences of my life and I know the course has helped me tremendously with my grief and other issues.

A Poletti – Edinburgh

YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

Independent Healthcare Team
Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
0131 623 4342 | hcis.clinicregulation@nhs.net