East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross has commended the work of 'Positive Life', the local charity who supports people living with or affected by HIV in Northern Ireland.

Mr Ross said,

'It is a worrying trend that we are seeing more and more people diagnosed with HIV in Northern Ireland, and it is clear that there is still a lack of understanding about the virus.

The latest statistics suggest that Northern Ireland has the highest rate of diagnoses in the United Kingdom with an increase of some 20% annually.

Many of us who grew up in the 'MTV generation' will remember the high profile campaign during the 1980's and 90's which promoted awareness about HIV and AIDS, but it seems that people are now less aware.

The virus attacks the immune system, and can be contracted through unprotected sex, sharing infected needles or from mother to child through pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

I think that the Assembly debating the issue this week is an important step in challenging the myths around HIV and an important gesture to tackle the stigma around the virus.

Positive Life too should be commended for their work in this area and their efforts to raise awareness in the lead up to World AIDS day on 1st December."

Published: Thursday, 01 December 2016