Charity of the Month // National AIDS Trust

As many people will know, December 1st marks World AIDS Day- a day to show support to those living with HIV and AIDS, remember those who have died and to unite in the fight against the virus. World AIDS Day runs alongside the National AIDS Trust so it made sense to support NAT throughout December.
National Aids Trust Logo

WHAT NAT DOES

The National AIDS Trust is dedicated to supporting those living with HIV and working towards finding developments in treatment. They focus on five main goals: effective HIV treatment, early diagnosis of HIV, access to treatment and care for those with HIV, greater understanding of the virus and education of HIV to tackle the stigma. Through running high-profile campaigns such as the No HIV Stigma campaign, raising the profile of HIV issues in Parliament and working in collaboration with the NHS and other organisations, the National AIDS Trust works tirelessly to meet their goals.

WHY THEY'RE IMPORTANT
National AIDS Trust Campaign
I'm too young to remember the terror of AIDS in the 1980s, but unfortunately I am well aware of the ongoing stigma that surrounds HIV. Many myths and inaccuracies still surround the virus. Although it is still seen as a problem mostly limited to gay men, in actual fact the majority of new diagnoses in the UK in 2010 were contracted heterosexually and a third of people living with HIV are women. Contrary to popular belief, HIV is no longer considered a death sentence. With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, people with HIV can live long and healthy lives. There are also steps that can be taken in order for those with an HIV diagnosis to have children. When proper steps are taken, the risk of a mother carrying on HIV to her child is less than 1%.

Despite the improved treatments and lifestyle options for people with HIV, it is still a very important cause, especially as the virus is on the rise. In the last 10 years, the number of people with HIV in the UK has doubled and one in five people are undiagnosed. Without a diagnosis, these people are unable to access treatment and therefore are at a much greater risk. In fact, just under half of people currently living with HIV were diagnosed at a late stage, after the point when treatment should have been started.

This is why the National AIDS Trust is so important. Not only do they tackle the stigma and myths surrounding HIV but they also help those who are diagnosed receive treatment and support, and campaign for early diagnosis to ensure everyone with HIV can live a healthy, active lifestyle.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
MAC Viva Glam Miley Campaign
There are many ways in which you can help the National AIDS Trust. You can donate, either as a one-off or as a regular payment, and help the charity in their work. Just £2 allows the NAT to educate a young person at risk of contracting HIV and provide them with the information they need to stay safe. 

If you'd like to take a more active approach, NAT has a range of volunteering opportunities available. They are currently advertising for student ambassadors and street collectors. Alternatively, you could become an HIV Activist and take an active role in NAT campaigns. HIV Activists may be asked to write to their MPs, speak to people such as GPs, the police or faith leaders about campaigns or sign petitions relevant to the cause. Anybody can join and you're free to decide how many campaigns you take part in.

Of course there also heaps of ways you can fundraise to raise money for NAT and their sister cause, HIV Aware. Whether you'd like to put on a charity cake sale, take part in a sponsored walk or run, or even throw a party, there are loads of ways to raise vital funds. There's even a NAT shop where you can buy red ribbon brooches, including one designed by Lulu Guinness. 

Finally, as all beauty bloggers will know, 100% of the MAC Viva Glam lipsticks (excluding VAT) goes towards the MAC AIDS Fund, an NAT partner, which works to fund programmes helping those living with HIV and AIDS around the world. 

MORE INFORMATION

If you want to find out more information about HIV and AIDS, I recommend the following sites:
Although attitudes towards HIV and AIDS have changed dramatically in the past 30 years, there is still much to be done. Together, we can make a real difference.

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