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Nick Clegg's message for World AIDS Day

December 1, 2009 12:55 PM

Nick Clegg MPLiberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg has a new YouTube video to mark World AIDS Day (1st December).

In the video he says:

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Today is World AIDS Day. The Liberal Democrats strongly support World AIDS Day because we need to be vigilant against complacency when it comes to HIV infection and AIDS around the world.

33 million people around the world are living with HIV and two million more die every single year.

And it's not a global problem - here in the United Kingdom too the rates are alarming. Back in 1998 there were 2,800 new diagnoses yet last year that figure had shot up to 8,000. That means within two years if those rates continue there will be over 100,000 people living with HIV in this country alone.

So we need to continually raise awareness - particularly among those groups - young gay men for instance - who perhaps weren't exposed to the early publicity campaigns in the 1980s about the danger of HIV infection.

We need to raise that awareness and we need to deal with stigma. The stigma attached to being HIV positive has terrible effects - it stops many people, many individuals around the world from admitting that they are HIV positive in the first place. And for those who admit that they are HIV positive and are seeking support - medical support, emotional support - they actually face discrimination instead. One in three people living with HIV in this country say that they face discrimination.

So: we need to be vigilant, we need to combat complacency, and we need to fight against stigma. That in my view is what World AIDS Day is all about.

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