Become an HIV Ally - World AIDS Day 2021

The national World AIDS day campaign for 2021 is encouraging people to show support as an HIV ally, through their Rock the Ribbon campaign. An ally is someone who helps and support other people who are part of a group that is treated badly or unfairly, although they are not themselves a member of this group. As a charity this is a big part of what we are about, enabling Christians in East London to get alongside children and families living with HIV to offer help and support.

We want to recognise our gifted and committed team of volunteers who have stepped up to actively support local children and families and thankful for those who also partner with team by giving and praying. Many of our volunteers and supporters have been effective HIV allies for many years.

Having been supporting families for 22 years personally, it is encouraging to see how much has changed for good with treatments and intervention helping to prevent transmission and enable health and normal life-expectancy for many. However, the stigma around HIV persists and continues to damage lives. Fear can result in late diagnosis impacting health outcomes and transmission. Many individuals I know continue to be fearful of people finding out about their HIV status, making it harder to access support, and negatively impacting mental health and well-being. Others have experienced active discrimination, judgement or rejection by friends and family.

Take action as an HIV ally:

Consider taking part in the Rock the Ribbon campaign if you are on social media.

Wear a red ribbon to show support in December.

Read current HIV news articles, take interest, stay up to date, make sure you know the facts about transmission and treatment, maybe start a conversation.

Ask your church leader to mark World AIDS Day on the Sunday following this, wear or provide ribbons for people to show support. Include prayers for people living with HIV, pray against fear and stigma and for increased testing that will help to end new transmissions.

Spread the word, we need new volunteers to join our diverse team to help enable children to participate in our outings programme in school holidays and also to visit children and families across East London. We'll be running training in the new year, so please spread the word or suggest it to a friend. Training is a great opportunity to learn more about the impact of HIV and how to be an effective ally.