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 Memorial Quilt marks World Aids Day across North Yorkshire



York Trust marked World Aids Day on Thursday 1 December by hosting the North Yorkshire Aids Memorial Quilt and book of remembrance.

York Hospital will also light up the roof lights in red in support of those living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.

The North Yorkshire Aids Memorial Quilt was started by a group of bereaved mothers and partners. It is a large free-standing quilt with a white Yorkshire Rose for each of those who has died and is updated each year by North Yorkshire Aids Action (NYAA). 

Kath Gallon, Manager at NYAA, said: “Although the rose emblems are anonymous, each one has a story behind it and many have been sewn on by a partner, family member or friend in remembrance of their loved one.  Sadly, this year five rose emblems have been added. 

“Whenever the quilt is displayed there is the opportunity to write in the book of remembrance and to pick up a red ribbon. People from all over the world have created a moving record of their loved ones lost to AIDS and their loving concern for those who are living with HIV.”

The quilt display, which has also visited Harrogate and Scarborough Hospitals, follows the recent National HIV Testing Week (19 – 26 November) when free and confidential rapid HIV testing is available in many locations across North Yorkshire and York.

The Yorsexual Health service, run by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, provides a community outreach service in partnership with Yorkshire MESMAC at clinics across North Yorkshire to offer HIV testing. There is also the option of postal HIV tests to be ordered online.

Dr Ian Fairley, Clinical Director for Sexual Health Services, explained: “There are over 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK and around a quarter of them don’t know they’re HIV positive.

“HIV is a treatable condition and no longer a terminal illness. Knowing whether or not you’re HIV positive is essential so that you can access specialist HIV services and HIV treatment.

“Effective HIV therapy not only keeps the individual well but it also prevents them from passing the virus onto others. If someone with HIV is diagnosed early and is able to access treatment then their life expectancy is as good as if they were HIV negative.”

Despite scientific advances and laws to protect people living with HIV, each year in the UK around 6,000 people are diagnosed with the virus.

02 December 2016

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