Aberdeen’s iconic Marischal College turned red tonight to mark World AIDS Day.
Aberdeen joined other cities across the world in marking the occasion, which is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died.
It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the work that still needs to be done.
Earlier this year, the Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett signed a charter for Aberdeen to become a Fast Track City, which is a global programme to reduce prevalence and stigma around HIV.
It aims to end new HIV transmissions, ensure people living with HIV are on effective treatment and to eliminate HIV-related stigma by 2030.
Aberdeen already meets the initiative’s 90-90-90 targets. The programme aims to see 90% of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 90% of people on ART with viral suppression.
However, there are still challenges in reducing the incidence of late diagnosis of HIV, maintaining the number of people who are on treatment and ensuring key population groups are engaging with support, treatment and prevention as well as tackling stigma.
Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett said: “Despite the significant advances that have been made thousands of people are diagnosed with HIV each year in the UK.
“We need to raise awareness and fight the discrimination and stigma associated with HIV, which is why Aberdeen City Council is a Fast Track City.
“By working in partnership, we want to end new HIV transmissions, ensure people living with HIV are on effective treatment and to eliminate HIV-related stigma by 2030.”
To keep people living with HIV well and to prevent further transmissions it is essential testing for HIV continues during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Edinburgh Castle and St James Quarter in Edinburgh, Clickimin Broch and Lerwich Town Hall in Shetland, Overgate Centre in Dundee, and, University Hospital Wishaw were also among Scottish landmarks being lit up red tonight.
HIV Scotland events & communications lead Henry Gray said: “A show of support like this from iconic institutions and landmarks is a fantastic way to mark World AIDS Day. The more we talk about the realities of HIV in Scotland, and the more creative ways we find to do so, the better we combat the still-present stigma around HIV.”
Testing is still available through the usual routes and online. For more information on testing call 0345 337 9900, go online to hivtest.scot or contact your GP.