Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood has called for an end to the discrimination of people with HIV and AIDS as well as a renewed effort to ensure those living with the disease get the support they require.
On World Aids Day the Rhondda Assembly Member said despite medication and treatment advancing in recent years, there still remains much stigma and misconception about HIV and AIDS.
Figures provided by the Terence Higgins Trust charity suggest that 13% of people living with HIV in Wales are undiagnosed. Statistics also show that 168 people in Wales were diagnosed with HIV in 2015 – the second highest number ever.
Ms Wood said: “The fear of catching HIV may not be in people’s consciousness as it was a generation or two ago but the threat is very much real. This was proven by the second highest number of HIV cases being recorded in Wales in 2015.
“There is also a big myth that HIV and AIDS only affect gay people when the reality is that a significant number of new cases are recorded among heterosexual people. We need to challenge these myths to assist the fight against the spread of HIV.
“We also need to challenge the stigma that blights the lives of those living with the diseases. People with HIV and AIDS deserve compassion, not maltreatment.
“There should also be a renewed effort to ensure those with a HIV diagnosis in Wales get the support they need. The Terence Higgins Trust say many of the more than 2,600 people in Wales with HIV are not getting the support they require to live well. That is unacceptable.
“If we are to stop the spread of HIV we will need to ensure that the issue is on the agenda of various Governments all-year round.”
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