Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, has a new video online today talking about HIV and AIDS. "In this country HIV is more common in some groups of people than in others including men who have sex with men," she says. "Men who have sex with men remain the group who are most affected but this has led to a stigma against gay men that is both unfair and dangerous. It stops many other people from realising that they too are at risk."
She asks her audience, "Today, on World AIDS Day, I would like everyone to take a look at a special pledge that has been launched by a charity called GMFA… The 'Count Me In' pledge that they have created is relevant for everybody."
She goes on to list each of the 'Count Me In pledges in turn:
"I will know my HIV status,
I will not assume I know someone else's HIV status,
I will take personal responsibility for using condoms,
I will value myself and my health and,
I will stay informed about HIV and how it is spread."
She also talks about losing some of her closest friends as HIV tore through the gay and bisexual community in the 1980s. She finishes, "Protect those you love, protect your community, and most importantly: protect yourself."