20 November 2019
We caught up with famous DJ Fat Tony to discuss why he’s involved with this year’s National HIV Testing Week.
I think it’s really important to play my part in raising awareness for issues that affect gay men such as myself. Gay and bisexual men are still one of the hardest-hit communities for HIV, and I believe we need more popular figures within our community to take a stand and help raise awareness about the importance of getting tested and knowing your status.
Knowing your status is something to be proud of. If you have HIV, the sooner you find out you have it, the better it is for your health. If everyone played their part in helping raise awareness about the importance of testing, we could be looking at the possibility of ending new HIV transmissions and stigma altogether. It’s amazing to think that this could soon be a reality, especially when we look back at the detrimental impact HIV once had on the gay community back in the early 80s.
HIV treatment has drastically changed over the years, we just need to make sure that the stigma associated with it is also being tackled. Although we may not see the huge HIV campaign posters and public health announcements plastered everywhere as we did back then, this doesn’t mean that HIV has gone away. It’s still rife in many communities in the UK and it’s time we address it.
Although organisations like Terrence Higgins Trust have done so much to help debunk stigma, there are still many misconceptions about HIV in society today. It’s shocking to know that in 2019, people not only still think HIV and AIDS are the same thing, but also still associate death with HIV. This is strange to me especially when we all now know that people on effective HIV treatment can now live long healthy lives.
I do believe the gay community as a whole are very much informed about the realities of HIV in today’s society there are still many of us who may still be afraid to get tested. Knowing your status is nothing to be afraid of. The fear is in not knowing which is why I encourage everyone to fight the fear and get tested.
I was scared when I first got tested, it’s natural to feel a bit nervous your first time but it’s important to remember that no matter what the results say, thanks to treatment you can still live your life as normal. Just remember to take your medication and your good to go.
Do your bit to end transmission of HIV in the UK by getting tested.
It is extremely important to get tested for HIV regularly as it is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV or not. If you have HIV, the earlier you find out the sooner you can access life-saving treatment and support enabling you to live a long and healthy life.
In most cases, HIV is passed on because people are not aware they have it and the longer you live with undiagnosed HIV the more likely it is for it to seriously damage your immune system.