As part of the ‘Light Up Scotland’ campaign, buildings including the SSE Hydro and Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Inverness Castle and even Clickimin Broch in Shetland changed their external lighting red, to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.
The campaign, organised by the charity HIV Scotland, took place alongside a range of activity across Scotland to raise awareness about World AIDS Day. Charities and campaigners held community events in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen, wore red ribbons, and called on all Scots to be sure they know the basics about HIV and AIDS.
George Valiotis, Chief Executive Officer of HIV Scotland said: “We’re absolutely delighted to see some of Scotland’s most significant buildings and landmarks light up in red for World AIDS Day. It’s an important mark of respect and remembrance for those who have died and also a much-needed reminder for all of us that we must know the basics about HIV and AIDS – both to keep new infections low and to reduce misconceptions and stigma about what it is like to live with HIV.
“It means a lot to us that so many buildings are taking part. As far as we know Scotland has more buildings turning red for the 1 December than anywhere else in the world.
“Hopefully seeing a local building or landmark in red will remind everyone in Scotland that now’s the time to learn a fact or two about HIV and AIDS, and to tell a friend. The facts aren’t complicated: keep yourself free of HIV by using condoms and not sharing needles; know that you can’t catch HIV from normal day-to-day contact like shaking hands or kissing, or even from a toilet seat; and while there’s no cure, when people with HIV get on effective treatment they can live long, active lives. One simple way to learn the basics about HIV and AIDS is to take and share the #HIVbasics quiz: www.hivscotland.com/quiz.”
New HIV infections have dropped significantly since the first World AIDS Day in 1988. But it is estimated that 5,900 Scots are living with HIV and 349 new people in Scotland were diagnosed with the disease in 2012 alone: close to one each day.