Last week Peter Lilley spoke at a Herts Aid stakeholder meeting, in his capacity as Patron of the Hertfordshire charity. The event at Hertford County Hall saw people living with HIV sharing their personal experience of the condition with local MPs, Councillors and health professionals.
“I would like to thank the brave individuals living with HIV, who shared their experiences of being diagnosed and living with the condition,” said Peter Lilley. “It was a privilege to listen to their personal testimonies and I hope that others living with HIV will be encouraged by their positivity and determination.
“It is clear from what we have heard that Herts Aid plays a vital role in offering those with HIV support as they come to terms with their diagnosis as well as enabling and empowering them to positively manage their lives and condition. I am proud to be a Patron of Herts Aid and to support the wonderful work they do for our community.
“Last year, shocking new figures showed that a quarter of people living with HIV are unaware they have the virus. This emphasises the importance of the role charities such as Herts Aid play in raising awareness of the support and treatment available, encouraging people to be tested and discouraging high risk behaviour.
“Since losing a young relative to AIDS 20 years ago, the use of antiretrovirals now means that HIV/AIDS has ceased to be a death sentence. The stigma of the disease has also been greatly reduced. There is still much to be done, however, and I am grateful to the hard work of organisations such as HertsAid, who continue to raise awareness of this important issue.”
Rt Hon Peter Lilley MP for Hitchin and Harpenden (centre), Councillor Teresa Heritage (centre right) with Herts Aid staff, trustees and volunteer