The LGBT charity Salford Pride, organised a virtual sexual health trivia contest to debunk misconceptions about HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
NHS worker and Salford Pride volunteer, Ricki Hewitt, hopes the trivia will educate participants about the importance of practicing safe sex and getting frequently tested.
He said: “What inspired us to do our event is that when we think of HIV and sexual wellness, there is still a massive stigma, especially in the LGBT + community.
“We don’t talk about it enough, and discussion is vital in breaking barriers to encourage testing.”
He continued: “People don’t know the difference between HIV and Aids. You can live a healthy and fulfilling life with HIV. Only if you tested and get treatment early. It’s not a death sentence.
“That’s the point of our trivia, encouraging people to get tests and have sex responsibly.”
Ann Migixhi, a Salford resident, praised Salford Pride for creating a safe place to hold these critical conversations.
She said: “No one talks about it, so nobody knows much about it. So what ends up happening is people don’t aren’t getting the tests they need. It’s so alarming because some of these diseases are deadly.
“That’s why I like what Salford pride is doing. It’s offering people like me in the LGBT community a safe space to ask questions without fear of judgment.”
The fear of HIV stigma leads to silence, and when it comes to fighting HIV, silence is death. It suppresses public discussion about HIV, and deters people from finding out whether they are infected.
As we count down to #WorldAIDSDay remember the work begins with each of us.
— Numen LA’BODE (@ItzLabode) November 21, 2020
Ricki Hewitt also stated that individuals within the LGBT community tend to deter from getting tested due to fear of facing discrimination.
He explained: “1 in 10 people don’t access sexual health services because they fear of stigma or discrimination. This makes these conversations that more important.”
He continued that to implement real change; schools must encourage the teaching of HIV and sexual health.
He said, “There isn’t enough education and awareness delivered in schools. Contraception taught in schools is for male and female sex. However, that’s not what sex looks like for everyone.
“Representation is vital in encouraging safe sex and sexual wellness.”
Due to Covid, Clinics are not holding in-person HIV or STD tests. However, you can order a postal test from Bolton NHS.
If you would like to learn more information about Salford Pride click here.