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One in seven would shun HIV+ friend

Gemma Pritchard November 27, 2007

One in seven young people in the UK would not want to remain friends with someone diagnosed with HIV, new research has found.

The MORI poll, commissioned by the British Red Cross, was conducted in the run up to World AIDS Day, which takes place on December 1st.

To help raise awareness and overcome the stigma surrounding the disease, Jean Lambert MEP joined a group of cross-party London politicians last week to prepare meals for housebound HIV sufferers.

After volunteering in Highbury with The Food Chain, an organisation that delivers meals to 350 people in the capital every Sunday, Jean Lambert said:

“Being diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness is devastating and on top of that many people face being stigmatised because of the lack of understanding surrounding HIV and AIDS.

“With rising numbers of new diagnoses year-on-year there should be further investment in education to reduce infection rates and increase comprehension of the disease.”

In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.

Ms Lambert added: “As well as the right medication, good nutrition is vital for those with weakened immune systems.

“The Food Chain provides a crucial service for housebound HIV and AIDS sufferers, helping to improve their quality of life. New volunteers are always welcome.”

The Food Chain began serving meals on Christmas day 1988. It continues to provide meals and grocery boxes to those living with HIV. The Food Chain exists to ensure that those living with HIV in the UK have access to good nutrition to help them regain their health and stay well.

As of the end of June 2007, 45 per cent of diagnosed HIV infections resulted from sex between men. 41 per cent were from heterosexual sex, 5 per cent from injecting drug use, 2 per cent from mother-to-child transmission, 2 per cent from blood/tissue transfer or blood factor, and 5 per cent from other or undetermined routes.

People in the age group 25-34 years have accounted for 43 per cent of all HIV diagnoses in the UK.

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