If 1,115 new HIV infections were diagnosed in Belgium in 2013, it’s because people have “too little knowledge about the illness”, says the director of the AIDS Prevention Platform, Thierry Martin. He said this on Wednesday during the presentation of the International Day against AIDS on the 1st of December. “Each new contamination is a collective failure as we know that the eradication of the illness is possible”, says Michäel François from Exaequo, a member of the association platform. “But for that, society needs to know that a person who is treated correctly is not contagious”. The lack of knowledge means that today, “HIV-positive people do not just have to deal with the illness, but isolation and stigmatism”, he adds. The risk, the members of the platform say, does not come from HIV-positive people, but unchecked people who continue to take risks and make other take risks.
According to the latest figures from the Institute of Public Health (Institut de Santé publique (ISP) released a few days ago, 43% of checks were done too late in 2013. Informing people is still necessary, and the International day against AIDS is the occasion to “hit the nail on the head”, thinks Thierry Martin.
As well as the traditional solidarity march in the center of Brussels and the distribution of red ribbons, an exhibition “Life and HIV today” (Vie et VIH aujourd’hui) will be presented to the public in Brussels stations. It will also go to other areas of Brussels and Wallonia. Since the 24th of November, it has presented witness statements from sixteen people, HIV-positive and negative, to fight against false ideas and discriminations. It also tries to be interactive as all those who want to post their witness statements can do so on the site www.preventionsida.org.